How to Get the Most Out of Career Fairs

Career fairs are highly glorified and perceived with high expectations, even though these events do not necessarily yield immediate employment opportunities. Nevertheless, career fairs can increase your network, which inherently increases your opportunity of employment.

Woman trying to decide on which color mug to choose from

Image courtesy of Lauren Macdonald

Benefits

Career fairs help you expand your network. It is just as important to mingle and exchange business cards with the young professionals, veteran employees, and entrepreneurs in attendance as it is to network with the organizations. The friend you make today could be your employer tomorrow.

They enable you to efficiently give out your resume. Placing a hard copy resume in the hands of an organization’s representative is rather more assuring than emailing it.

You get to meet face to face with employers in a relaxed environment. Career fairs can be less stressful than interviews and produces a similar outcome: Bringing you one step closer to employment.

You can survey your competition to see where you fit among your peers. With any competition, it is important to see who you are facing so you can play to your strength and illuminate their weaknesses. This is something web applications and interviews don’t provide.

Career fairs are a good break from the monotony of applying through the web. Applying online after a while can become demoralizing and boring. Career fairs are a good way to break that mold and find employment in a different way.

They can help with interview practice and boost confidence. Similar to an interview, you want to leave a good impression. If you succeed in a career fair, it usually leads to an interview, which gives you that boost of confidence going in.

It gives you a better footing of where you stand regarding employee qualifications. Discussing employment possibilities with a representative at a career fair will give you a clearer insight into employment qualifications than in job postings listed online.

Career fairs can give you access to specific organizations in which you’re interested. Career fairs are often the only chance you have to verbally showcase your talents to an organization — other than being invited for an interview.

Setbacks

The entrance fee. Although not expensive, you still have to pay money to get through the door, which can be frustrating if you’re low on cash and seeking employment.

Unrealistic expectations of immediately landing employment or an interview. Try to be realistic. Just because you spoke with a representative doesn't mean you're guaranteed you'll get an interview.

An overly crowded career fair decreases your chances of getting extensive time to converse with employers. If it is crowded, make sure to spend your time wisely. Sometimes your third choice may give you more of a chance than the crowded tent at your first choice.

Sometimes there are only bottom of the crop companies in attendance at the career fair. This is only a negative if you did not look at the employer list for the career fair. Nevertheless, expand your network.

You could encounter poorly-engaged company representatives. Often times the representatives are good indicators of a work atmosphere. If they aren’t engaging, that is a yellow flag. Spend your time wisely. Hand your resume, network a bit, and swiftly carry on.

Career fairs can be holistically time consuming. With speeches, activities, food, presentations, meet and greets, and finally the fair, the day can get quiet long. It is as important to spend your time wisely as it is to spend your energy wisely. Your last impression is just as valuable as your first.

Career fairs seem to give a perception that by attending, you encompass a higher chance of obtaining employment. Although career fairs set up an environment that allows you all the employment exposure you need, there are no guarantees you’ll walk out with a job. But stay positive. It’s a number games. The more applications your submit and the more career fairs you go to, the higher your chances of landing that job interview.

Article Topics: