How to Get Ready for Your Next Career Fair: Before, During and After

career-fairIt’s career fair season again. Are you ready?

Before you attend the career event in your community, read over the before, during and after checklist below to make sure you’re 100% prepared!


  • Dress nicely. That means suit/tie for men and business attire for women. DO NOT show up in casual clothes. Might as well stay home.
  • Bring at least 25 copies of your resume. Before you print them out, improve your “Skills” section (like this) and “Experience” section (like this).
  • If you have business cards, write something special on the back of each one before the job fair. For example, a website URL, additional phone number or Twitter handle. People may hold onto your card longer because it’s personalized.
  • Give yourself a look-over in the mirror before you fly out the door.


  • Make eye contact with employers, give a firm handshake and introduce yourself right away with, “Hi, my name is [first and last name]. It’s nice to meet you.”
  • Ask employers questions like: What kind of skills do you look for in new hires? What’s the company culture like? And also be curious about the employer’s own background with a question like, So how did you get into this kind of work? (Use these six words to ask smart questions on someone’s bio)
  • Do NOT ask questions like: How much vacation time will I get? What will I get paid? How long is the lunch break?
  • Always request a business card.
  • It’s also OK to network with other job seekers. They might be able to connect you to the right employer.


  • Go online and research the companies from the job fair you want to pursue.
  • Then, send strong follow-up emails to employers. Use the subject line, “Nice to meet you at [name of networking event]”
  • In the email, include your first/last name and a detail from your conversation so the person remembers who you are. Then, thank the person for his/her time at the job fair. Next, link to 1-2 examples from the company’s website to show you’re impressed with the work it does (ex: recent press releases, case studies and latest news). Finally, ask for a follow-up conversation to explore the company further.
  • If the employer doesn’t respond to your email after 48 hours, pick up the phone. On the phone: be prepared to introduce yourself, say how much you enjoyed talking with the employer, be ready to reference examples of success from the company website and be confident when you ask to meet again to explore career opportunities.

A special thanks to career service professionals at Hampton Roads colleges/universities who helped me assemble the list.

Have any other job fair tips? Share below!


For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at News to Live By!


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Danny Rubin AuthorAbout the Author: Danny Rubin is a communications expert for the millennial generation. He also writes the blog News To Live By, which highlights the career advice “hidden” in the headlines. His work has appeared on Huffington Post, Business Insider and the New York Times. Follow him @DannyHRubin

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