Your First Job Fair

Sometimes, usually once per semester, your college may host a job and internship fair.  Here, hundreds of different employers set up kiosks and booths to advertise job positions for college students from all sorts of backgrounds.  Undergraduates from any year – freshman to senior – and in any field of study have good odds of finding a prospective employer. Colleges sometimes also host smaller job fairs targeting students from specific majors or skill areas.

Before visiting a job fair, it is important to prepare properly.  First, make sure to have several copies of your resume, as many as you think you might need.  Usually, I bring ten to twelve copies. It is also very important to double-check the time and location of the fair to make sure you get to the right place on time.  At some universities, like mine, the second semester’s job fair is at a different location than the first semester’s, so be careful about this! Job fairs are usually very large events that last for several hours, so you don’t have to worry about getting there at the very beginning.  Finally, before heading out, make sure to look presentable and professional. Business casual attire is recommended. You can and should bring winter clothes like gloves and a jacket if the weather requires it. When you arrive, you will be able to have your excess clothes bagged and tagged so that you can collect them once you’re done.

Once at the job fair, there will be dozens or even hundreds of kiosks, each from different employers and each with one or two recruiters.  They make a point to be approachable and friendly, so don’t feel anxious about coming over to talk with them. They offer promotional materials that usually give a clear picture of what their company does and what they expect of new hires.  If their promotional materials don’t seem very clear on the matter, you can always ask the recruiters directly. The recruiters will not offer a job interview on the spot, but they will gladly take your resume and give you their contact information, a job application form, or both.  From there, you can reach out to their company and continue the process of applying for a job. While you might not end up getting a job or an internship, you will build connections with prospective employers that may help you in furthering your career. Besides, it’s always worth it to try!

About the Author

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Sean Labor
History major and Mass Communications minor at University of Minnesota-Twin Cities