Job Fair Checklist

Before the Fair:

  • Prepare your resume; have it reviewed/proofread/critiqued so that it’s perfect (no errors!); print multiple copies on resume paper.

  • Research the companies/organizations who will be attending the event so that you can communicate intelligently with the recruiters. When researching, try to learn at least the basics.

  • Prepare your 30 second commercial by making a list of your skills and abilities, identifying your key accomplishments from past educational and employment situations.

  • Prepare pertinent questions to ask the recruiters which will demonstrate you’ve taken the time to research their organization. Bring a small notebook and pen to take notes.

  • Practice responses to sample interview questions. 

  • Get a good night’s sleep and eat breakfast! After you’ve prepared mentally for the fair, make sure you remember to prepare physically as well – you want to be at your best.

  • If you have more questions or if you’re feeling unprepared, visit and click on “Career Fair Resources.”

 During the Fair:

  •  Study the program/floor plan once you arrive and before entering the main room, so you’ll know where each organization is located.
  • Introduce yourself and be enthusiastic. Use a firm handshake and maintain eye contact. Clearly state your name, be ready to launch your 30-second commercial, and exhibit direction and focus in your conversations.
  • Share your skills and attributes. The most sought-after skills and attributes that employers seek are: communication and interpersonal skills; flexibility and dependability; leadership and teamwork; motivation; honesty; work ethic; and a willingness to learn and grow. Even though time is short at job fairs, try to show evidence of these qualities if possible.
  • Watch your manners and mannerisms. Dress appropriately (it’s always better to err on the side of conservative and over-dressed than casual and under-dressed) and pay attention to personal hygiene and accessories. Don’t chew gum or have food/drinks in hand, don’t smell like smoke, stand up straight, avoid fidgeting, and speak clearly.
  • This is not a social event. Make sure your cell phone is off and out of sight. Don’t fall into the mistake of interacting on a social level and forgetting you’re being judged on your potential to function in the work environment.
  • Collect business cards from vendors – ask for one if they don’t volunteer it. If appropriate, make notes on the back side. If you were given a lot of information, remember to stop and write notes in your notebook before moving on.
  • Be sensitive to others who are waiting behind you in line. Sometimes employers like to talk to groups; don’t be upset. Remember not to monopolize the recruiters’ time – it’s their time as much as yours.
  • Don’t ask about salary and/or benefits. Ask questions that show your interest in the company.
  • Have an open mind. You may have 12 employers on your list, but if you have extra time take this opportunity to chat with other employers who aren’t busy or to network with other jobseekers. You might be surprised to learn something! At least, you’ll be practicing initiating conversation in a less formal business environment.
  • Social skills are critical. This is your opportunity to be evaluated on more than just your resume. Interpersonal skills, communication skills, and workplace appropriate social skills are extremely important. Share the knowledge you’ve learned about the company. At a fair, you have the chance to stand out in a way that you might not have on your resume.
  • Smile!
  • Thank the vendor before leaving each table, for talking with you and for any brochures/company literature and promotional materials they shared. Also ask about follow-up and timeline.
  • Volunteer your resume (don’t wait for the recruiter to ask for it). Carry copies of your resume in a professional looking folder or portfolio.
  • Don’t be discouraged if some companies tell you to apply online. Use this opportunity to start a dialogue with the recruiter and ask specific questions about their company and positions they have. This will help them remember you when they see your online application. Write down the recruiter’s name so you can follow up with him/her after the fair.

 After the Fair:

  •  Keep track of those you spoke with and any special notes you need to make.
  • Follow up with employers! This is the most important part of pursuing an opportunity. This goes beyond a simple thank you. Don’t wait too long – no more than a week – and use the employers preferred method on contact (email, in person, etc.) and express you continued interest in the company, reiterate your knowledge of the company and/or opportunities, and ask what your next steps should be in the process.
  • Send thank you correspondence to those you are seriously interested in and wish to pursue.
  • Reflect on your process – what kind of system did you use? How can you improve upon your methods for next time? Outline some plans for your next job fair, and think about how you can utilize these improvements in your ongoing job search.