WHAT IS A JOB FAIR?
Think of Job Fairs as speed dating for employers and job seekers. At these events, companies and graduate schools provide information while applicants offer cover letters and resumes. NSU Career Services Job Fairs are completely free to students. Proper attire for these events are business casual, and do not forget your resumes!
Job fairs are made up of collections of employers looking to fill part-time, full-time and internship openings. A job fair is an event designed to network with employers you would have not met otherwise. Job fairs provide a great opportunity for you to meet employers who represent a wide range of industries, and in some instance, obtain interviews with them.
Not all employers will conduct preliminary interviews at the job fair, but if you are serious about your job search, you should go prepared to talk to potential employers.
Research: More than a third of employers said they expect you to know something about their companies or organizations. To prepare for this, check the Calendar of Events a few days before the job fair to view the list of attending companies.
Dress to Impress: To create a good first impression, you cannot go wrong by dressing as if you are going to a job interview. Most employers reported that they consider business casual appropriate for job fairs and many of the employers at the job fairs are casually dressed. However, some employers said that a common mistake students make is "not being dressed professionally."
Take supporting documents: Upon request, you should be able to supply potential employers with the following: cover letter, hard copy and/or scannable resume, professional portfolio, transcript copy and a completed job application.
MEETING AND GREETING
There is a certain etiquette practiced at job fairs. Making a mistake will not necessarily knock you out of the running for a job with an employer, but if your goal is to stand out from the crowd, you do not want to make a mistake to be the thing that makes your visit memorable.
Mistakes employers said students commonly make include:
- Saying "I'll take anything" or "I don't know" when asked about interests. It shows a lack of focus.
- Dressing unprofessionally or in casual clothing.
- Lacking a resume to leave with interested employers.
- Confusing a company with its competitor or not knowing anything about a company.
- Lacking enthusiasm or interest in a company or job opportunities.
- Asking about salary.
- Asking inappropriate questions, not asking questions and having a poor or unprofessional attitude.
- Grabbing free stuff.
- Lacking communication skills, including not make eye contact and have a weak handshake.
- Not being willing to relocate.
JOB FAIR NETWORKING
Always shake hands, make eye contact and smile when you meet someone for the first time. Demonstrate enthusiasm, confidence and interest.
Remember your elevator speech (PDF file).
Recruiters at the fair usually give you direct access to the first point of contact of the companies hiring team.
You get one chance at a first impression, do not waste it.
Listen attentively, take notes if you need them, and ask for business cards and brochures from your target employers.
If you are feeling overwhelmed, take a break. Give yourself time to get organized and return to the fair with energy.
Always thank the employer for their time.
FOLLOW UP YOUR FAIR EXPERIENCE
Most employers said they follow up with students within two to four weeks after the job fair to request an interview. They also expect some kind of follow-up from you, including a cover letter, phone call or a completed job application. Employers may not extend an invitation to interview if you fail to take this initiative.
Time spent at a job fair pays off. It is your chance to see many of the career opportunities that are open to you. You may connect with potential employers who can offer you a job. If you make a favorable impression, you are more likely to be invited to interview.