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How to Prepare for a Job Fair

Tips for having a successful job fair experience.

Congratulations on making the decision to attend a job or volunteer fair. This is typically the hardest part of participating in an event like this!

Now that you've decided that you will attend, here are some tips on how to ace your job fair experience!

Making a Game Plan Resume Preparation Dressing for a Job Fair What to do at the Fair After the Job Fair

Make a Game Plan

The first step to having a successful job fair experience is to develop a game plan to ensure that your day goes smoothly. As you prepare for the big day, consider the following items:

  • Confirm the date, time, and location of the event and save this information in your phone or calendar so that you don't miss it.
  • How will you get to the job fair?
  • What will you wear to the job fair?
  • Make sure that you have updated copies of your resume, plus a folder or portfolio to hold them in
  • Gather additional materials that you might need to apply for positions (ex: birth certificate, social security card, drivers license or other photo ID, etc)

Do Your Research

See which employers will be attending the job fair and which position(s) they will be hiring for. Make a list of employers and positions that are of interest to you, as well as any questions that you may have about their organization or a specific opportunities. As you prepare your resume for the event, be sure that you demonstrate that you have the skills, knowledge, and abilities desired for the position(s) that are required for the opportunities you are interested in.

Prepare Your Resume

A resume is a document that summarizes your skills, knowledge, abilities, and educational/work history. It usually doesn't replace a job application, but it does make filling out applications on-site much easier, as it will contain the same information that most job applications require.

Resumes allow you to highlight the characteristics that make you stand out in a crowd of applicants. Having a well-written resume, free of spelling or grammatical errors, makes it easy for potential employers to determine if you might be a good fit with their organizations.

There are generally two types of resumes: chronological (organized by date) and functional (organized by job function). Determine which type of resume you want to bring to the job fair based on the type of positions that you plan to apply for and your experience level. If you have lots of experience in a specific field, a chronological resume might be the best option. If you have limited experience or a wide range of difference skills, a functional resume might better highlight your strengths.

View Example Resumes

Not sure where to begin? View the sample resumes below. Visit the UNM Career Services website for more tips on career & professional development.

Watch: Resume Tips from UNM Career Services

Build Your Own Resume

Download resume templates via the links below to start building your own resume.

Remember, your resume is meant to highlight the various skills, knowledge, and abilities that you have, so don't limit your resume to paid employment opportunities. Things like classwork, extracurricular and volunteer opportunities can also be included on your resume.

Dressing for a Job Fair

How you dress at a job fair influences the first impression that you will make on prospective employers. If you are attending a professional job fair, you must dress professionally as well. This typically means wearing a business suite for men and suits with either a skirt or pants for women.

You don't have to wear professional clothing at more casual job fairs, however, you should always make sure that you are wearing clean, neat clothing that allows you to put your best foot forward. You don't want to lose an excellent job opportunity because you wore unprofessional clothing.

During the Job Fair

At the job fair, visit each of the employers that you are interested in, introduce yourself to the person or people staffing the table, and ask them any questions that you have about their organization or specific positions. This will indicate to the employers that you have done your research and are genuinely interested in a position at their organization.

Talk with unfamiliar employers at the event. Sometimes employers have openings that have not been posted yet. Using your time at a job fair to network and to see what is available is a great way to discover opportunities and get your name out there.

On-Site Interviews

Some employers might ask if you are willing to participate in an on-site interview. If you are willing and able to do so, take advantage of this opportunity to streamline the application process by interviewing on-site. If you do not have the time or are uncomfortable doing so, politely decline the request and ask if it is possible to schedule an interview at a later date.

Get Contacts

Whenever possible, collect the contact information of the employers who you meet at the job fair. If you have a conversation with an employer, ask for their business card. This makes it easy to follow up with those individuals when the job fair is over.

Always be polite and professional at the event, as you never know who is watching you while you are in the area.

Many of the booths will have fliers, promotional items, and other materials that you can take with you. It is okay to take items that are being offered, but only do so after talking with the people at the booth.

After the Job Fair

Follow up with individuals or organizations that you met at a job fair. If you applied or interviewed for a position on-site, send an email or letter thanking the individual(s) you met with for their time and offering to provide additional information upon request. Doing so demonstrates professionalism and a strong interest in that organization, helping you to stand out among the field of applicants.