Creative Careers: Attending Career Fairs

Creative Careers: Attending Career Fairs

You can put your best face forward and get feedback from companies you’re interested in working for.

Career fairs are the perfect opportunity for you to introduce yourself to potential employers. You can put your best face forward and get feedback from companies you’re interested in working for. To gain the best results, you have to take an assertive yet strategic approach. Remember, your goal is to stand out and ultimately, land your dream job. Here are tips for visiting a job fair:

Tip 1: Do Your Research

To be effective at a career fair, do your research and be prepared to make a good first impression. Before visiting the fair spend significant time learning about each company and what they’re looking for in a candidate. Come prepared with direct questions. For example, inquire about the culture of the company or their hiring practices. You want to be able to demonstrate that you’ve done your research and understand their organizational needs.

Recruiters who attend career fairs may not be hiring managers. It’s often best to exchange information and follow-up with a detailed resume. Clearly state your interest in the position and why you’d be the right fit in your follow-up message.

Tip 2: Have a Plan 

When you first arrive, walk around the job fair and decide who you want to speak with and in what order. As you approach recruiters, be prepared with talking points to discuss about your resume. You can note your most recent accomplishments, whether that’s a professional development course, artist fellowship or other specific awards and achievements. Also, expect to answer typical interview questions, like, “Why do you want to work for our organizations?” 

Make sure to pick up business cards and printed information so you have reminders of the recruiters with whom you have interest in contacting later.

Tip 3: Be Yourself

Career fairs are filled with people and recruiters may be reviewing over 100 resumes, it’s important to be yourself throughout the process. You want people to remember your name and unique accomplishments over the other candidates. 

At career fairs you can share why you’d like to work for the organization, and you’ll have the chance to sell yourself. Make an effort to highlight your skills at every opportunity. You can do this by sharing your online portfolio or sharing actual work samples in-person. Interacting with recruiters can also allow for feedback on your resume. This is your opportunity to enquire about their interviewing process and understand what qualifications are required. Overall, you can gain an advantage over those who don’t have that same face-to-face interaction. 

Tip 4: Ask Questions

Career fairs are not only a good place to meet people and put your accomplishments forward, but it’s also a good place to hear from current employees about their job responsibilities and how they got started in their careers. Asking questions can help you determine your future career path and learn more about a potential employer.

Whether you’re a college student or an established professional, the right career fair strategies may lead you to an interview. We encourage you to come prepared, arrive early, distribute your resume, and ask as many questions as possible. And don’t forget to bring the following:

  • Resumes
  • Online Portfolio
  • References
  • Work Samples

Glory Edim, Program Associate, Online Resources

Image: Minna Resnick (Fellow in Printmaking/ Drawing/Artist Books ‘91) 

Amy Aronoff
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