Tips for getting the most out of job fairs

Photo by Phawat/

Photo by Phawat/

Have you ever thought that attending a job fair is a bit like speed dating? You dress up, bring your CV and spend less than 10 minutes at each employer’s table, coming away with nothing more than a shallow knowledge of the business and perhaps a free pen or keyring. Read our top tips to find out how to get the most out of a job fair. 

To successfully attend a job fair, focus on:

  • Thinking about what you want to get out of the job fair. Spending time beforehand thinking about both what you want, and what you have to offer, will pay dividends and allow you to get the best out of the day.

  • Researching the companies you want to meet there. What do they look for in candidates? Are they hiring? Do they hire veterans and for what kind of positions?

  • Researching the people who will be representing the companies. Sometimes, companies publish who will be presenting at the event, or will be doing onsite coaching or even job interviews. Look at these individual’s online presence and find out: do you share anything in common (e.g. schooling, contacts, interests).

  • Refining your offer. What makes you valuable to the companies you want to approach? Try and match your background, passions, skills and talents with what they are looking for.

  • Knowing your CV. If you’ve had someone help you with your CV, and they “de-militarised” it to make it relatable to civilian companies, be sure you understand every word and it uses language that sounds like you.

  • Bringing a confident and positive attitude. Job fairs are hard work and can be tiring for everyone. No matter how frustrated or exhausted you feel, approach every new person with a smile, firm handshake and positive attitude. The next person you greet warmly and confidently may be the exact person you need to meet for a great new career.

  • Taking notes. It’s hard to keep track when you’re meeting with multiple potential employers in a busy environment. Jot down notes on the back of the business cards you have collected or on your notepad, so you have a reminder of who you spoke to about what.

  • And saying thank you. Take the time to send a brief follow up thank you note or email to the companies that you are interested in or were interested in you. It’s a good way to reiterate your interest in the company and to remind company representatives that you’re a strong candidate

  • Using spare time at careers fairs networking. It can feel like there is a lot of waiting around at careers fairs, so make the most of that time and network. While you are waiting in line, talk to others. You never know who might be able to help with your job search.

  • Top tip - don’t forget to take copies of your CV and/or business cards. You want people to be able to contact you if they are interested in your skills and experience so don’t forget to take copies of your CV or a business card.

Help with your CV and translating your skills

If you’d like some help with crafting a civilian CV or in translating your military experience and skills into the language of a civilian employer, register with us now.