Should I go to a Job or Career Fair?
Every year about this time, I am asked by clients and friends alike: “Should I go to a Career or Job Fair?” And I always say yes, but only if you are prepared and find the right fair for you. Career fairs can be a great place to connect directly with employers, recruiters, staffing agencies, colleges, MLM and franchise vendors, career coaches and resume writers. Many job fairs have seminars and panels on job searching, or feature expert guest speakers. They often have resume reviewers who can check over your resume and offer tips. Some fairs have workshops for women or older job seekers. And others are designed for entry level applicants, ex-military or career changers. So yes, job fairs are generally a good idea. And a with a little research, you can get the most of a job fair. You may even get a job!

Before the Career Fair:
Spend some time on the career/job fair website
Research the exhibitors/attending companies. The job fair host will usually list the companies that will be recruiting, along with their websites links.
Be sure check out open positions, and then “customize” your resume specifically for each company that you are interested in. Aim for 4-6 companies per job fair.

Be organized
Create an agenda for the day, including visiting company booths you want to apply for, and events you want to attend. Plan some time for standing on line (expect LOTS of job seekers), and have your “script” ready to go.
Get business cards from company representatives, and ask permission to follow up later with an email or phone call.

Pre-register or sign up for seminars, resume reviews and workshops
Sign up for seminars, workshops, or resume critiques, if required.
Sign up as a job seeker, and submit your resume prior to the fair, if offered.

Bring with you
Copies of your customized resumes for targeted companies; business cards, breath mints, and a firm hand shake.
A professional attitude and be sure to dress to impress! Even though it is a job fair, first impressions always count.

Day of the Career Fair
Be early
I often get a cup of coffee at the hotel/venue restaurant, and sometimes meet company recruiters doing the same.
An early arrival allows a moment to collect your thoughts before the crowds get there, and provides the opportunity to be first in line at the booths.

Follow your plan
You have spent some time putting your plan together, so try to follow it as much as possible.
Get and give business cards. If one company booth is busy, grab some business cards from the booth and contact them at a later date.
Meet people! Especially targeted hiring managers and recruiters. Your goal is to constantly expand your network.
Also, since your there, drop your resume off at the hotel HR office where the career fair is being held – if that interests you. Why not?

After the Career Fair
The most important thing to do now is follow up with everyone you met.
Be sure to contact everyone that you gave your resume or business card to, and set up interviews or at least coffees dates.

Career and job fairs are really what you make them. If you plan for a productive day, you will have a productive day. At the very least, you will get out of the house and meet and greet real people!

Author's Bio: 

About the Author: Kristi Enigl is a Global Career and Job Search Consultant who brings over 20 years of Hiring, HR Management and Executive Recruiting across a broad spectrum of industries to her professional practice. She helps professionals identify, create, and market their career brand so they reach their career goals – FAST. She is an expert resume writer, interview coach, and speaker. Info at