Job Fairs: What They Are, Why You Should Attend Them & How to Make the Most of Them

Looking for a job, or just curious about career opportunities that are available? Job fairs are great events to attend to learn more about Arizona employers and what positions are in high demand.

Job fairs can cater to different types of job seekers. Consider attending a job fair if you’re:

  • A high school or college student looking for an entry-level job
  • Someone who’s unsure about which career path to take, so you’re looking for career inspiration
  • Unemployed and need a job
  • In a career transition, you’re thinking about switching career fields entirely, or you’re interested in career networking opportunities and want to see jobs that are in-demand

If you’re interested in job fairs in Arizona, Pipeline AZ regularly posts employer events to facilitate career networking in diverse industries. Check out the upcoming in-person and virtual job fairs and webinars. This guide explains what a job fair is, how to prepare for one and how to follow up after attending one to help your job search.

This guide explains what a job fair is, how to prepare for one and how to follow up after attending one to help your job search.

What Are Job Fairs?

A job fair is an in-person or virtual event where various employers come together to meet with potential job candidates and tell them more about their companies and open roles. When you walk into a job fair, there will typically be booths where candidates can line up and meet with company representatives.

Virtual job fair formats vary depending on the organizer. One sample format might be the employers all introducing themselves on video to the attendees and explaining the types of jobs available. Attendees can then reach out to the representative via email for a more detailed conversation.

Some virtual job fairs will feature meeting rooms, which participants can join based on the employers that interest them. In these virtual rooms, participants might have a group discussion with the employer, and/or have the option to message or speak with the employer one-on-one.

Also, like we explain in our virtual hiring events post, some virtual job fairs are scheduled. You’ll be asked to send your resume and any other relevant materials ahead of time, so an employer understands your background before you even speak with the representative.

Read the job fair format before you attend, so you have an idea of how it will go once you’re there. For both in-person and virtual job fairs, you’ll want to prepare ahead of time so you can make the most of your attendance.

How to Prepare for Job Fairs

Preparation for both in-person and virtual job fairs is similar. You’ll want to present yourself in the best light to employers. Use these tips.

Update Your Resume

Job fairs provide an advantage over typical job searches because you’ll likely be able to meet with a hirer or someone who could help you get hired right at the fair. To prepare, update your resume. From our resume writing tips post, we recommend to:

  • Make your resume as specific as possible. If you know you’ll be meeting with a specific employer at the job fair, or there are specific types of employers/jobs being featured, edit your resume so it highlights skills and achievements related to what you’ll be pitching yourself for at the job fair.
  • Add any new experience, skills, certifications, education and volunteer experience. If you’re attending a job fair, this is a great time to reflect on how you’ve progressed in your career since you last updated your resume. Again, edit your experience so it’s tailored to the jobs/employers you’ll be meeting at the fair.
  • Proofread. Job fairs can be effective ways to obtain a new job, and you’ll want to take a serious approach. Check your resume for spelling and grammar errors before you print or send copies to employers.

If you’re going to a job fair where you’ll bring other materials, like portfolios or work examples, make sure you proofread and edit those, as well.

If you’re meeting different types of employers at the same job fair, or you’re interested in applying for different types of jobs, edit different versions of your resume for each employer. Use a folder to carry the resumes. Add sticky notes with the name of the employer to help you stay organized.

Be Presentable

Approach a job fair like you would a job interview. You might even be meeting with someone who could directly hire you or be your future manager, so you’ll want to make a great impression.

That means:

  • Dress professionally, even for virtual job fairs
  • Groom yourself (brush your hair and teeth, take a shower, etc.)
  • Don’t eat, drink or chew gum while you meet with employers

You never know who you might run into at a job fair away from their booth. Be mindful of your actions at a job fair, even when you’re not in an interview.

Prepare for Interviews

It’s helpful to research the companies you’re interested in talking with before you attend a job fair. A common job interview question is, “What questions do you have for me?” At a job fair, you might ask similar-typed questions to multiple employers, like:

  • “How would you describe your company culture?”
  • “What do you like about working for your company?”
  • “What type of learning, training and career development plans does your company offer?”

You can also make yourself stand out among other job fair candidates by researching specific information about the employers you’re interested in. You might comment about the employer’s great Instagram page, their recent community volunteering efforts, and how that reflects on their company culture, for example. Or, you might learn that one company’s headquarters is based in a town you lived in.

If you can make a personal and specific connection with a recruiter at a job fair, that will help them remember you. You can also reference what you talked about when you follow up.

Another way to prepare for interviews is to reread your resume, LinkedIn page and anything else that talks about your experience, like a personal website. A recruiter at a job fair may ask you questions about your experience, so refreshing yourself on your biggest accomplishments gives you something to talk about.

What to Do After a Job Fair

After you’ve met employers at a job fair, follow up with them to keep the conversation going. You may have received business cards from people you met. Send a follow-up email that references:

  • Who you are and what you talked about
  • Why you’re grateful for having met the hirer/recruiter
  • What next steps you’d like to see happen – “I look forward to talking with you more about this open position,” for example

In a follow-up email, you can also attach a digital copy of your resume and work samples, and add links to your LinkedIn page and professional website, if you have those. Show gratitude for the opportunity to connect, which can help you get a job you’re interested in.

Not sure which career field is best for you? Take our free career assessment to find jobs that match your interests and skillset.

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