How to Make a Good First Impression at a Job Fair

As Spring Break quickly approaches job fairs across the country are in full swing. Employers are sourcing top new talent at colleges across the world. In order to get any type of follow-up call from a recruiter you’ll want to make sure that first impression is your best. Job fairs are the best opportunity for you to find and make a face-to-face connection with a possible employer. Everyone says first impressions count and in this instance they are 100% correct.

How to Make a Good First Impression at a Job Fair

According to a recent statistic on recruitment strategy, job fairs are the primary source of new hires for more than 70% of businesses with HR departments. This indicates that employers are making an effort to attend job fairs and are prepared to go above and beyond to find the proper group of brilliant people. You’ll never know the full worth of each connection you establish at a job fair, regardless of the employer. With thousands of students attending job fairs yearly most go in without knowing the true ins and outs of a job fair and figure they’ll go, just because. But never fear, here are a few tips that will have you landing multiple job offers by creating the best first impression:


Do it now. You’ll be able to enter with a strong understanding of the organization if you are aware of the opportunities that are open at specific businesses in advance. Recruiters often grow weary of repeating what their organization does and what openings are available. Instead, stand out from the crowd by doing your research and asking detailed questions about the positions you are genuinely interested in applying for. Doing research shows that you’re already invested into the company and will go along way with recruiters.

Practice Your Pitch.

You want to practice what you’re going to say to each employer on why you are the best candidate for the job. Get together with your friend or career services department and practice answering general interview questions. You’ll also want to put together a short list of questions to ask each employer. They hear themselves talk all day long without little to any response from potential candidates. Switch it up on them and be the one asking questions.

Dress the Part.

This also should be one of those unwritten rules when going to a career fair, but every time I go to one I see someone dressed in jeans and a t-shirt. That is a big no-no in the world of recruitment.  Wear conservative business attire and make sure you look well groomed. You will also want to carry your materials in a professional folder or portfolio. Don’t be one that person that goes into a job fair looking like a slob.


Without follow-up after the job fair, no job fair is complete. Use the business cards you’ve gathered from possible jobs to write letters of gratitude to important corporate executives. Reiterate your advantages and promise to get in touch with them in a few days to follow up. Don’t waste a great job fair by doing nothing at all to follow up. A recruiter most likely collected hundreds of business cards but is unable to contact each and every one of them. Following up with thoroughness might be just as crucial as planning ahead.

When attending a job fair, think of it as a group interview. Come prepared, dress appropriately, and follow-up after everything is said and done. If you follow all these keys to success your experience at a job fair will be one that produces great yields. In an economy where it can be rough to find a job you’ll need to put your best foot forward in any situation you’re given for a new opportunity. The last piece of advice is to be you. Coming into a job fair with all your ducks in a row is prime, but don’t prepare to the extent where you come off as fake. Nobody likes a fake.


What are your job fair secrets? 

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Jessica Miller-Merrell

Learn more about Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR, SHRM-SCP, the founder of Workology, a workplace HR resource, and the host of the Workology Podcast. More of her blogs can be found here.


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