“We’re Hiring! Now Hiring! Sign-On Bonus!” If you drive down any busy street in your town, you’re bound to see businesses advertising for open positions with similar messages. Businesses across the country are hiring, so it’s a great time to attend a local job fair, but you’ll want to come prepared.

Over the years, the size and location of job fairs has changed based on labor needs, university resources, and community resources. With the on-going labor shortage, employers may decide to host on-site open house job fairs. These job fairs give job seekers the flexibility to attend within a time frame that works with their schedule. It also gives them the opportunity to tour and learn more about the company at their facility.

Career fairs also took on a more virtual feel during the Covid-19 restrictions, but now we’re seeing mostly in-person job fairs. Local school, university and community workforce groups host large job fairs at conference centers featuring employers across many industries. School and university job fairs tend to focus on hosting employers seeking candidates for internships and entry-level career opportunities. Community workforce groups tend to host job fairs that expand to candidates across all times their career. Regardless of your career experience, here are some tips for preparing for a job fair.

1. Prepare Your Introduction

In order to stand out at a job fair prepare an elevator speech that highlights yourself as a candidate. Come ready to provide this information about yourself:

  • What skills and experience do you have?
  • What qualities make you stand out as an employee?
  • When can you start working?
  • What career goals do you have?

Practice the responses to these questions ahead of time to ensure a smooth delivery to a recruiter, business owner, or hiring manager. Finally, don’t forget to ask the recruiter questions about the available job opportunities that you’d potentially qualify for. 

2. Update Your Resume

Come to the job fair with paper and accessible digital versions of your resume. After you’ve shared your elevator speech introduction with the hiring manager, you’ll want to give them a copy of your resume. Depending on how they collect candidate information they may want you to upload your resume to their internal ATS or website or collect a paper resume version. It’s always good to be prepared with both. For the latest tips on how to format your resume, follow our resume tips.

3. Conduct a Social Media Sweep

Audit your LinkedIn and other social media accounts before the job fair to ensure your profiles contain an updated professional-looking photo, skills, experience, and job history. No need to hire a professional photographer, just follow these simple steps for taking a new profile pic with your cell phone camera. Do you need help updating your LinkedIn profile? We can help you for FREE – contact us

4. Arrive Early

When you plan to arrive early, you’ll feel more prepared and ready to tackle any last-minute traffic, public transportation, or parking challenges. If the employer(s) advertises about same-day job interviews and offers, it’ll also confirm the age-old truth that the early bird gets the worm.

5.  Dress Appropriately

It can never hurt to confirm with the job fair organizers ahead of time about any dress recommendations. If the job fair is on-site at a college or conference center, you’ll most likely want to wear business casual clothes. If the job fair is on-site at a production facility, you’ll likely want to wear closed-toe shoes and pants. Regardless of the location, wear well-fitting, comfortable clothing that makes you feel confident! Remember that you’ll be walking around and talking to several people, so having a hands-free bag to save resources and merch you gather can be helpful too.

6.  Keep the Communication Lines Open

After the job fair, send the recruiter, hiring manager, or business owner a quick thank you email, and closely monitor your email and phone for incoming messages. Also, clean up voicemail messages ahead of time to ensure a full inbox doesn’t prevent a future employer from leaving important messages.

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