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Getting the Most Out of Job Fairs

Whether you’re looking for a new job or planning to change your career path, a job fair is a great place to start.

Job fairs, also commonly referred to as career fairs or career events, bring together employers and potential employees. Job fairs 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. You can learn about the employer(s) and provide your resumé for potential job opportunities.

Before you find a job fair that interests you, there’s a lot to prepare for and consider. The following suggestions can help you make the most out of job fairs.

Prepare for a job fair

With a little preparation, you can maximize your time and get better results at a job fair. 

  • Determine which employers are your highest priority to connect with.
  • 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 be prepared to talk about 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 a 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 job fair?

Focus on connecting with employers that offer you the best chance at employment and the answers to your questions. The following suggestions will help you get the most out of your job 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.
  • Write down 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 job 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 job fair?

Once the job 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 job fairs in Alberta?

Now that you know how to succeed at a job fair, it’s time to find one near you or in the field you want to pursue. Here are a few resources to help you find a job fair or career event in your area of Alberta:

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