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Career fairs are a great opportunity to network, but to stand out, you’ll need to be prepared. We offer tips, do’s and don’ts, and the best 25 questions you can ask at a career fair to make a great impression!
Attending a career fair is a great way to meet with a variety of companies all in one place. But, with so many potential employers to meet, it’s important to make the most out of your time and to make a great impression to increase your chances of getting a second interview or a job offer. And while you might think an interview is a great opportunity for the company to ask you questions about yourself—and it is—it’s also a great opportunity for you to ask questions about the position, the company, and their expectations.
In this article, we’ll discuss how you can make a great impression at a career fair, including:
How do you prepare for a career fair interview?
25 questions you can ask at a career fair
Dos and don’t of a career fair
Career fairs (also called job fairs or career expos) are great opportunities to meet and interact with hiring managers, but they can be a little overwhelming. But if you're prepared, you'll have a better chance of a successful outcome—and maybe even an interview. But to make the most of the career fair, it’s important to have a plan.
Here are some things you can do to make the most of your career fair:
Do your homework. Get some background information on the companies you’re interested in, and get an idea of their expectations, company culture, and the positions available.
Create an “elevator pitch.” Time is limited, so put together a brief introduction, including your name, the position you’re interested in, your background, and the value you’d bring to the company.
Have a set of goals. What are you looking to get out of the career fair? General information? A meeting with a particular company? Knowing what you’re looking for and making sure it aligns with the goals of the career fair will make your time much more productive.
Make multiple copies of your resume. Companies can’t follow up with you if they don’t know who you are.
Make sure you have the appropriate attire. Make sure your outfit is professional but comfortable. If you look good, you'll feel more confident.
So once you’ve made enough copies of your resume (20-30 should be sufficient) and you’ve put together a killer ensemble, you should take some time to create a list of questions that you can ask the recruiter once you’re face-to-face. They will most likely end your encounter with, “Do you have any questions for me?” and it’s critical to have some at the ready. (You don’t have to ask all 25 of these questions—choose the ones that apply to the position you’re interested in.) Remember, up to 70 percent of positions are never posted, and 80 percent are filled through networking, so professional events, such as career fairs, can give you a leg-up on landing a job.
How many people does the company employ?
Can you tell me about the company’s values and mission? Do you have any examples you can share?
Do you offer training or mentorship programs?
What positions are you looking to fill?
What is a typical workday like for this role?
What is the first thing a new person in this job will tackle?
What are the company’s expectations for this position? How do you measure success?
What technical skills would a person need for this role?
What soft skills are required?
What type of position is this: Part-time? Salaried? Freelance?
What type of education does this position require?
Is travel required for this position?
How many applicants do you have for each position? What percentage is hired?
What is the hiring process, and how long does it typically take?
Do you have any suggestions on how I can improve my resume?
Is there anything I can do to improve my chances of getting hired?
What do you like best about working for ABC Company?
What are some characteristics that successful people at your company share?
What is a typical career path at your company?
What is the company’s stance on remote work?
Can you provide one positive and one negative aspect of the company culture?
Can you share your contact information?
Can I email you if I think of any other questions?
Is there anything else you’d like to know about me?
May I email you my interview availability?
Remember, career fairs are networking events, but they also have other benefits as well. It’s an opportunity to learn about new companies you might not have heard of, gain valuable career insight, and practice your interviewing skills. And you never know—you might find your dream job!
Wondering if you’re being paid what you’re worth? Check out our Salary Analyzer tool to compare your compensation with other positions in your industry.
To make the most of the career fair, it’s important to have a plan to achieve the most successful outcome.
To prepare for a career fair, define your goals, do your company research, and have plenty of copies of your resume.
It’s important to prepare questions for the recruiter. Prepare a list of questions about the company, its culture, the position you're interested in, and the hiring process.
Jennifer Inglis is a freelance writer and content creator. A former public school teacher, she has expertise with English literature, writing, and public speaking, as well as an extensive professional background in advertising and media analysis. Jennifer has a bachelor’s degree in Theater and a master’s degree in Education, and is the author of two published novels.