Many college students make the mistake of going to the campus job fair as if it is a career exploration event. Job fair employers are serious about hiring. And the job fair is a competitive event where you are surrounded by your college peers. So a casual approach will often be viewed as a potential turnoff. First impressions are lasting impressions.
The best approach is to be fully prepared in advance before going to the job fair. Here are the five things you need to do before the job fair:
1. Prepare yourself.
Know what type of job you are seeking before going to the job fair. The employers send recruiters and hiring managers, not career counselors. This is not the time to try to figure out what you want to do in life. Be targeted and focused on what you want to do and you will stand out above your competition at the job fair.
2. Prepare your resume.
If you haven’t completed your resume yet, do so before the job fair. And don’t just prepare a get-it-done resume, make sure it is polished. Use a professional template such as our Quickstart Resume Template at to make sure you present yourself in the best format possible. Even better, use our Resume Generator to do all the work for you. If you have more than one objective, simply make sure you have a separate resume for each objective in your portfolio folder.
3. Get professional.
Make sure you look the part at the job fair. Dress professionally and have your resumes available in a professional portfolio folder.
4. Do your research.
Know the employers who will be attending and what jobs they are hiring. Then lay out a plan of action for which employers you want to approach at the job fair. Some job fairs can have long lines, especially for the popular employers. So leave enough time to both approach your targeted employers while also allowing time for exploration of lesser known employers who are hiring in your field.
5. Practice interviewing.
Yes, your job fair encounter is an interview. That first impression you make at the job fair will be noted and recorded by the employer. So make sure you leave them with a solid first impression and wanting more. By doing so, you will be able to successfully transform the job fair into your connection to first level interviews. And, in doing so, help connect you one level further toward potential jobs after college.
The campus job fair is an excellent opportunity for you to connect with potential employers. Make sure you are fully prepared to make the most of the event.