Why should you attend a Job Fair?
Jobs Fairs are a chance to make important contacts with potential employers and to get information about current and future opportunities. They also serve as a great opportunity to meet with a variety of employers in one convenient location and explore career options you may otherwise have not considered.
Before the Fair: Preparation is the key to success
- Get a list of organizations that are coming to the fair on the CDC website and do some research.
- In addition to online research, use social media, including LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter, to learn more about the organization’s products, services and current events.
- Create a prioritized list of organizations that seem the most interesting to you and that you would like to meet face-to-face during the fair.
- Self assessment: know yourself and what YOU are hoping to get from the fair:
- Decide on your career focus and what kind of work or internship experience you are looking for.
- Know what value you can bring to their organization: What can you do for them?
- Be able to state why you are interested in working for their organization.
- Prepare and rehearse a 2-3 line summary of your qualifications (elevator pitch) so that you make the most of brief time with employers:
- Be able to tell an employer who you are, your major, your career interests,
your relevant work experience, your strong professional and personal skills, and what you hope to offer their organization.
- Customize it to the needs of the organization you are most interested in.
- Prepare 1-2 questions to ask each employer. These must reflect your research and interest.
- Craft an effective resume:
- Make sure it creates a favorable impression.
- Remember that the CDC staff can review your resume, but be sure to make your appointment early!
- Print out several copies, on resume paper.
- Prepare your fair attire:
- Make sure your outfit is business professional. Jeans are not acceptable!
- A conservative, well-tailored, pressed and clean suit will make a positive impression.
- Prepare your briefcase, padfolio or portfolio to keep your resumes clean. Leave your backpack at home.
Day of the Fair: Strategize your approach, but be open to new possibilities
- Arrive early! Sometimes organizations leave before the end of the fair and you want to be sure you speak with your choice of employers.
- Spit out your gum and practice your smile before entering the fair. Turn your cell phone off! Employers will remember if you were texting and making calls during the fair.
- Consult the job fair program to familiarize yourself with the fair’s layout.
- As you approach an employer, offer your right hand with a firm handshake. Make eye contact with the employer when introducing yourself and maintain it throughout your conversation. Smile often and show your enthusiasm.
- Remember the representative's name; make sure you know how to pronounce and spell it correctly and ask for their business card. You can use this later when you send a thank you letter.
- Demonstrate that you have done your research with a well-crafted pitch, and do not forget to ask questions! Offer your resume to the employer, but be aware of others behind you waiting to speak with the employer. Do not monopolize the employer's time.
- Although you will be nervous, watch out for these fillers:
- Near the end of your conversation, ask how their hiring process works and get a sense of the next steps.
- After you have spoken with the employers you are most interested in, take some time to explore others you might not have considered…you may be pleasantly surprised by looking at other options!
After the Fair: Your work is not over yet
- Determine the best way to follow up (e.g. email, phone, LinkedIn, written letter).
- Within 24 hours, send a customized thank you letter to the employers that are your best prospects and be sure to mention something specific you discussed during your conversation at the fair.
- Follow up with those employers who asked or gave you specific instructions on tasks to complete.
- Ask for a business card and make notes regarding your conversation to reference for the follow up correspondence.
- When following up with employers from the fair on LinkedIn, be sure to send them a customized message referencing where and when you met.
- Follow the person on Twitter. This can improve real time data to improve the content of your communication.
Resources: Elevator Pitch and Job Fair Preparation
- Ready, Prep, Interview
- Building your elevator pitch worksheet
- Career Beam Create an account using your Buffalo State email address. Once you log in, select the “Getting the Job” and “Pitch” tabs to develop your elevator pitch.
Thank you correspondence example: Send within 24 hours of the fair
Ms. Jane Bennett
1234 Delaware Avenue
Buffalo, NY 14214
March 23, 20XX
Dear Ms. Bennett:
Thank you for taking the time to meet with me today at Buffalo State’s Job Fair. You were extremely helpful in explaining XYZ Communication’s Management Trainee Program and the needs of the Customer Service Department.
As we briefly discussed, my coursework in Business Administration, and my previous management experience has provided me with a solid understanding of business operations and leadership skills.
I remain very interested in this opportunity, and I welcome the chance to meet with you and your team in the near future. As you suggested on Thursday, I have completed an application on XYZ Communication’s webpage. I will follow up with you to inquire about the status of my application. Thank you for your time and consideration.