The Benefits of a Career Fair
Unless your school operates on the quarter system, it’s almost time for classes to wrap up for the summer. If you’re looking for a new job or summer internship, it’s not too late to find one! By using the resources offered by your school, you can maximize your job-opportunity. One way to do that is by attending spring career fairs!

Though spring career fairs tend to have less attending employers than fall fairs, they’re still a great way to potentially land a new job! Our experts dish the benefits of a career fair below; read on to discover them for yourself!

Why should you go to a career fair?

As Natesa, a Hiring Expert at Textron Inc. explains, “Career fairs are one of the easiest ways for companies to meet potential employees; it’s also one of the best places to start your job search. Companies attend career fairs because they have open positions that need to be filled”Ref Link 1 - which means you can fill them! 

Even if you don’t find any positions you’re interested in, career fairs provide a great way to network for future opportunities. Take cards from the recruiters whose companies you’re even mildly interested in, and don’t be afraid to reach out to them later asking about other internal positions. 

How do you stand out once you’re there?

Because you’re not going to be the only job-hunting candidate at a career fair, it’s important that you’re able to set yourself apart from everyone else. Ashlyn, a Hiring Expert at Worthington Industries points out that a great way to stand out is by “Research[ing] the companies that will be in attendance (choose 3 or 4 to really focus in on). Check out what cool things are happening either with their company or in their market. Bring these things up in your conversation, ask questions around them; this shows that you've gone the extra mile and that you are someone who is interested in their line of work. Ask them if it's OK for you to connect with them via LinkedIn and when you do, be sure to send them a quick note. Feel free to follow up with them and see if there are any career opportunities that you'd be a fit for.”Ref Link 2

Many students show up to a career fair without first researching the companies in attendance. Instead of gaining an insightful conversation with recruiters, these students are left discovering what the companies do - and are much less likely to be remembered by the recruiter later. However, if you’ve done your research ahead of time, you can have a more in-depth conversation that’s much more likely to lead to an interview. 

It’s also important that your personality makes an impression on recruiters, especially if you want them to connect with you after the event. Ashley, a Hiring Expert at Cardinal Health explains that “Passion and confidence are key. It's important to be confident, but not too confident when networking with potential employers. This can help demonstrate your leadership qualities. You should also demonstrate your passion for the industry or the company. Use your time networking to demonstrate what you can bring to the company and ask thoughtful questions to understand more about the company culture, career progression or to learn more about the individual you are speaking with. If possible, a follow-up thank you note/email after your conversation is always appreciated as well.”Ref Link 3

What other steps should you take?

While career fairs can be a great way to find a job, they probably shouldn’t be the only source you use. Ashley furthers that “I wouldn't rely solely on the career fair to secure a job. A career fair is a great starting point to see what is available, but likely doesn't include all current job openings. You should also proactively seek out opportunities through your school job board, career center, connections through student organizations, and other job boards (LinkedIn, Indeed, etc.). If there are any companies that interest you, seek our opportunities directly on their website or try connecting with recruiters on LinkedIn.”Ref Link 4

Don’t be afraid to reach out to your connections - whether that’s a recently met recruiter or a connection you’ve never actually met on LinkedIn. 

Attending a career fair can be a great way to network, promote your skills, and find a new job. Make sure you do your research ahead of time though, and be personable to show a recruiter why you’re worth hiring. After that, it won’t be long until you #GetThatJob !

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