Are Career Fairs Worth The Effort? Vault’s Career Blog

Find out more.  Don’t go to a career fair just because it says you might land your next job there.  Find out what companies will be present and then research those companies to find out more about them and the jobs they are looking to fill.  If these companies are not offering the types of jobs you are looking for, and you’re not desperate to take any job at the moment, don’t waste your time. 

Research the career fair.  If a particular company puts on a career fair each year, find out if it is successful.  A lot of people leave comments about whether they found a job or not.  If the success rate seems impressive to you, it might be worth examining further.  If all you read about are complaints, you might be more productive sending resumes and cover letters online. 

What can the fair offer you?  If you are still uncertain, but see that the fair will at least help you sharpen your interviewing skills, it might be worth going.  You can benefit greatly from the practice and any possible feedback you might need. 

How broad is the career fair?  Large career fairs are hard to navigate, not to mention, they can be loud and crowded.  You won’t really get a shot at selling yourself to Verizon when there are 200 people standing in front of you, holding you back from applying elsewhere, only for you to realize that they don’t have enough time to speak with you in-depth due to the volume of job applicants.  That’s why niche career fairs are a better choice. 

Are interviews available? Search for career fairs that offer candidates opportunities to interview with the employers at the fair. Booking an interview ahead of time for a position and employer in which you have interest will make the career fair worthwhile before you even walk through the door.

What are the networking opportunities? Some career fairs offer resume review, cocktail hours, lunch panels and meet-and-greets with professionals in the field. These types of activities may not result in an immediate job offer, but building your network can increase your odds of finding the right opportunity. Look for career fairs that go beyond resume-drops and instead foster relationship-building.

–Jon Minners, Vault.com

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