Get the Most Out of Career Fairs
Whether you're looking for a new job or planning to change your career path, a career fair is a great place to start.
A career fair brings together employers and potential employees and can feature as few as one employer or involve multiple employers from a single industry or region. It’s your chance to ask employers about hiring priorities and current job openings, obtain business cards and company literature and provide your resumé to employers you meet.
The following suggestions can help you make the most out of career fairs.
Prepare for a career fair
With a little preparation, you can maximize your time and get better results at a career fair. Here are some ways to prepare for meeting employers:
- Determine which employers are your highest priority.
- Research employers' websites and social networking pages. Take notes as you research so you are well informed when speaking with these employers.
- Make a list of the questions you want to ask each employer.
You should also prepare to present yourself to potential employers. They will want to know about you, and you will want to make a good first impression:
- Make sure your resumé is up to date. Plan to take one copy of your resumé for each employer on your priority list and a couple of extra copies.
- Work on what you want to tell each employer about yourself.
- Dress as though you are going to a job interview as you may be interviewed on the spot.
What should I do at the career fair?
Your goal is to meet all the employers on your priority list, get answers to your questions and make connections that can lead to employment. The following suggestions will help you get the most out of your career fair experience:
- Practise your presentation by starting with an employer that didn’t make your priority list.
- Focus on the employers on your priority list, but be open to meeting other employers that may catch your interest.
- Be sure to ask the questions you have prepared. It shows that you have done your research and understand the company.
- Take notes on the employers’ answers. Doing so shows you are interested, and you will need your notes later when following up with employers.
- Offer your resumé and highlight major accomplishments. This is your chance to shine.
- If employers accept online job applications, let them know if you have already applied or plan to apply. If you don’t know how to apply, ask.
- Ask for business cards and collect employer literature.
- Be considerate of other job seekers. Don’t monopolize too much of an employer’s time.
- Thank each employer for spending time with you.
- Watch other job seekers who seem to be doing well to discover ways you can improve.
Some career fairs may also provide you with an opportunity to:
- participate in on–the–spot interviews
- meet with career and human resources professionals who can give you feedback on your resumé or portfolio
What should I do after the career fair?
Once the career fair is over, it’s important that you follow up with employers. Using your notes, write a thank–you email to each employer you met. Staying in contact will keep you fresh in their minds as they review resumés from the fair. Here are some tips on sending a thank-you email:
- Email the employer within 24 hours.
- Mention having met at the fair and the topics you discussed.
- If you have applied or plan to apply for a job with that employer, say so.
- Attach a digital copy of your resumé.
- Thank the employer for having spent time with you.
How do I find a career fair?
Now that you know how to succeed at a career fair, find one near you or in the field you want to pursue. Here are a few resources to help you get started:
- Alberta Job & Career Fairs (a listing of Alberta fairs by date)
- Career Events (a listing of Alberta fairs by region)
- Central Alberta Jobs
- Alberta Aboriginal Training and Jobs
- Calgary Job Feed