A job fair is a great place to get connected with employers about employment opportunities, and learn about employers you are interested in. Here is an interesting fact about job fairs, different job fairs have different focuses. For example, the Career & Internship Expo‘s focus is a career fair held on-campus every fall to connect local employers with MSU students from a variety of majors over the course of two days. Employers at the Government & Nonprofit Career Fair are looking for people across the state who are interested in working in the nonprofit sector or the government. The Social and Behavioral Sciences Career Day, MN State Mankato Summer Job Fair, IEEE Job Fair, Minnesota State Universities Job & Internship Fair, and Minnesota Education Job Fair likewise all have their own particular areas of focus.
Why Attend a Job Fair?
A job fair is a great place to learn more about employment opportunities pertaining to your major. By attending a job fair, you can increase your chances of landing an interview. Learn from employers about the job search process by getting advice on what you can be doing. Get your name out there! Develop your networking skills by meeting with different employers about what you are passionate about.
Regardless of the reason for attending a job fair, there are some important things you should know before attending one.
Top 5 Things you should do to Prepare for a Job Fair
Employers love when you have done some research before vising their table, because it shows how interested you are. Contact the organization hosting the job fair for a list of which employers will be attending. Take some time before attending a job fair to explore those organizations’ websites. Mavjobs.com is a great resource to research employer. Log on to Mavjobs.com and under the tab “Learn About Potential Employers” you will find a directory of employers that you are more than welcome to explore as well.
Make sure you bring a lot of copies of your resume to share with employers when attending a job fair. It is completely fine to not bring a cover letter to a job fair, a resume would be just fine. Make sure your resume is up-to-date with your latest experiences. Get your resume reviewed by visiting the Career Development Center (CDC) during QuickStop hours Mon-Fri 11am-2pm, or by scheduling an appointment.
This is your chance to not necessarily sell yourself but to get employers to learn more about what you are passionate about. An elevator pitch is a conversation or an ice breaker that will potentially lead up to developing your networking skills. Create a sales pitch that summarizes your values and your skills you can offer to an employer. Talk about how you can be a great addition to the company you are pursuing.
Leave the t-shirt and sweatpants at home. Instead try on a suit! Your first impression is everything when approaching a table at a job fair, even before the conversation starts. When attending a job fair you want to dress to impress by showing your professional side. You want employers to see you as someone ready to enter the workforce, and take the job search process seriously.
Take some time to debrief yourself on what you have experienced after attending a job fair. Reflect on your experience by asking yourself “What went well?” Did you learn about employers that would be a good fit for you? Keep track of contact information for the employers you are interested in, so you can later follow-up with them. Send out thank you letters to employers you really want to pursue. This can potentially build a strong connection with employers.
Now that you know what a job fair is, why you should attend one, and how to prepare, try experiencing a job fair for yourself!
– Antonio Moore, Graduate Assistant, Career Development Center