Ask Amber: Preparing for a career fair

By Amber Alarid, JVA Consulting

Yesterday, I attended Regis University’s Career Fair as a representative of JVA. I was very impressed with the level of preparation attendees seemed to have put in and the way they conducted themselves. Due to the significant turnout and the obvious popularity of career fairs and networking events these days, I think it’s important that all attendees put their best foot forward at these events.

First and foremost, your resume needs to be up to date. Before you attend any events where you are networking with the potential to advance your career, your resume must be in tiptop shape. It can be very embarrassing to get home and realize you just handed out dozens of resumes with typos or outdated information. Ask trusted friends, colleagues and relatives to read over your resume and give you honest, constructive feedback.

Once you are positive that your resume is typo-free, print it out. Make sure that you print enough copies so that you are not empty-handed by the end of the day. I know for the environmentally conscious it can be hard to hit print and commit to a large stack of resumes that may or may not all be passed out, but there are some green options out there. Banana paper, for one, can be beautiful, functional and is eco friendly. If you do not pass all your resumes out, don’t be discouraged, hang onto them and use them as backup copies if you receive an interview as a result of the career fair.

Find something nice to keep your resumes in. This may not have an effect on whether or not you get an interview, but it is still important. I personally think it’s best to buy or borrow a sturdy portfolio that will keep your resumes from sliding out or getting bent. It also looks professional to have put some thought into how you care for your resumes and it will help you looked pulled together.

Your look should be something that is professional, but allows you to move around the career fair with ease. Make sure your shoes are comfortable (no slippers, please) as you will be walking quite a bit. Clothes should be loose enough to be comfortable but never baggy. Even if this is just one stop of many you have to make that day, or it’s your day off and you plan to spend the rest of the day at home, you should always make an effort to dress up. It is ok to wear tennis shoes or snow boots when the weather is cold and snowy like it was yesterday, but be sure to change into dress shoes before you make it inside. And remember, if you have to carry around a large bag or backpack, don’t let it detract from your look or ability to get around.

If you come to a career fair with the right mindset, look and tools, you are likely to make new contacts or score an interview. These fairs are a wonderful opportunity to talk one on one with a potential employer and get their attention—don’t take away from those chances by making an error that could have been prevented with a little planning.


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1 Response to Ask Amber: Preparing for a career fair

  1. Pingback: Ask Amber: Getting the nonprofit job that you want | JVA's Nonprofit Street

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