For students and job seekers, job fairs are a great opportunity to learn about various companies and job openings, as well as connect with professionals—the goal being either to attain a job or expand their professional network. Many colleges and universities will host some of these fairs to connect students with alumni. Other common hosts include government organizations, professional associations, and private companies.
Traditionally, job fairs were always held in-person; but with the advent of technology and its prevalence with everyday life, virtual job fairs have also become commonplace. In-person job fairs encourage face-to-face interactions between employers and job seekers, which can help with developing first impressions and having deeper conversations. The caveat, however, would be that attendees are usually limited to the people in that geographical location. Virtual job fairs are a great option for people who are unable to commute to a physical location, but are still interested in all that these fairs have to offer. Depending on the organizer and online platform, some virtual job fairs will include presentations, live chat functionality, and/or breakout room networking.
If you are wondering what to do during a job fair, check out our previous blogs for guidelines on how to craft an elevator pitch, how to dress, or how to network. These will help provide some foundational prep work for you prior to the fair. After you cover all your bases and manage to navigate the fair successfully, here are 5 things to do after:
Review material you got from the fair
Whether it be job postings or contact information, be sure to take a look at all the materials you received and start processing them. In-person job fairs typically have print collateral (flyers, brochures, packets, business cards, etc.) for you to collect. As you go through these different resources, it would be beneficial to consider a way of organizing all the information. This would make it easier for you in the future if you ever need to go back and refer to something.
Research the companies you are interested in
After accessing your experience at the job fair and reviewing the materials, you probably have a better idea of which companies you would like to work at. It is important to learn more about the company by doing your own due diligence. Read about their mission and values, dig into their employee benefits and work culture, and learn about upcoming projects they have planned. Doing some research can help you see whether or not the company will be a good fit for you, as well help you craft your answers specifically for them if you get a chance to interview.
Update your resume and LinkedIn profile
Your resume is what employers will mainly look at when deciding whether or not to interview you. It should house all your recent qualifications, skills, and experience. Creating a resume for the first time is definitely the hardest part; once people are done putting it together, they take a laissez-faire approach. However, many people forget their resume is never “finished” per se, as it is a running document of their experiences and should be updated on an ongoing basis to reflect that. The same goes for your LinkedIn profile. Employers are not checking applicants’ LinkedIn profiles often, but it is still a possibility that they could look at your profile after reviewing your resume to confirm that everything matches. An updated resume and profile demonstrates that you are actively seeking new opportunities and are dedicated to presenting the best professional version of yourself.
Follow up with connections you made
A good practice would be to connect on LinkedIn with people you met at the fair. Send them a connection request, along with a short note about meeting them at the job fair. Doing so provides context to the connection request and increases the likelihood that they will accept it. The sooner you reach out to connect, the better; with the job fair fresh in their minds, it will be easier for them to put names to faces. Yet, the work does not stop after the request is sent (and accepted). The most important part in networking is not making the connection, but maintaining the relationship. The real value comes from building trust and rapport with the professional; as they get to know you better, they can provide you with insights and introduce you to different opportunities. You could also follow up by sending an email if you have their email information.
Keep track of your applications and connections
As you start applying to more and more jobs, it would be beneficial to keep track of which jobs you applied to and when, as well as any point of contact you might have at those companies. In the professional world, much of your success comes from your network. If you’re interested in working for a particular company, getting a referral from a current employee for a position is one of the best ways to increase your chance of getting an interview. Referrals are recommendations given to a job candidate and are often given higher priority from recruiters and/or hiring managers because they come from a credible source. Thus, it is important to take note of people you’ve talked to and your relationship with them.
How Student Hires Can Help
Student Hires aims to educate students in areas related to career development. We provide one-of-a-kind programs for students to explore different careers and gain relevant experience before transitioning into entry-level roles. Our workforce development programs prepare students for future careers in a variety of Career Technical Education sectors.
Job Fair Blog Series
Student Hires will be holding a resume review booth at the Riverside Job Fair on Tuesday, January 31. The fair will be from 4:30 – 7:30pm at the Galleria at Tyler. Come join us there!
Leading up to the job fair, we will be publishing a new article each week in our Job Fair Blog Series. Below are the articles:
- 5 Tips for Crafting the Perfect Resume
- Elevator Pitches: Everything Students Should Know
- Dress for Success: 4 Tips On How to Dress for a Job Interview
- Networking 101: Tips on How to Build Your Professional Network
- The Power of LinkedIn: 6 Tips on Building a Good LinkedIn Profile
- Ace Any Job Interview With These 6 Tips
- 5 Important Things To Do After a Job Fair
Job fairs can be instrumental in furthering your career. The key to success at job fairs is that you get what you put in, meaning that if you approach them with a well-defined goal, a solid plan, and a professional attitude, you will be able to achieve your desired outcome. It is especially important to remember that there are steps to take after a job fair—following up with people and researching companies can make it more likely for you to get the job that you want.