Prepare for Virtual and In-Person Career Fairs and Events

Simply attending a career fair or career event is not enough; make your participation count by preparing purposefully!

Review Attending Employers/Organizations
Most career fairs or career events have lists of attendees available ahead of time.  Review the list, research the organizations online, then prioritize those you would like to meet. 

Learning all there is to know about a specific employer assists in customizing job search materials and preparing for interviews. Research also helps to identify organizations, job openings, and skills needed for specific careers and industries.

Take time to update your resume making sure it is well-written and error free! Make sure you have multiple copies of both your resume and list of references on hand.

Most people will approach an employer, say hello and give a little spiel about their background, and then ask, “Do you have any open roles?” The recruiter will sometimes say, “We do. Check the website.” That’s not a powerful way to maximize your time.  Instead, spend some time developing questions to set yourself up for a successful conversation.

At least a week before the career fair or event, consider a haircut and make sure your professional outfit is appropriate, fits, and is clean.  Need professional clothing? Watch for our annual JCPenney Suit Up event each spring offering deep discounts on professional attire.

You step into the career fair or career event and make your way toward a representative from the top-ranked company on your job-search list. What can you say and do during the next 60 seconds to make this recruiter want to explore hiring you? Learn to sell yourself by creating an elevator pitch, and make sure you practice it!

After the Career Fair or Career Event
Give yourself the competitive edge and don’t make the mistake of thinking that as soon as you have spoken to the last employer and left the facility that you are finished. Follow-up is essential! Send a thank you email that evening. Be persistent and observe follow-up procedures suggested by the employer. Once you have complied with these procedures, and a reasonable amount of time has passed since you heard from the employer, it is okay to send an email or call to inquire about the status of your application.