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Your Career Fair Checklist

I was excited to be on the radio again with Matt Jones, of Q100, Rock 105 and the Cumulus stations in Atlanta, regarding career fairs. Here is your checklist to know that you are ready, an expanded version of one of our previous posts about career fairs.

  • Prepare mentally first. Career fairs can be mobbed and overwhelming. Fighting the crowds can be intimidating as well as the prospect of making an impression in the first 10 seconds. Get your game face on and start by preparing mentally for the big day; have a strategy, play a song you love on the way there, visualize being successful.
  • Find a list of employers that will be there. Get your hands on it however you can.
  • Identify the top 3-5 employers you want to meet. Find out where their tables are, plan your strategy. Then, identify 2 companies you want to approach that you’re not as interested in. Consider visiting their table as a strategy to practice your elevator pitch before you visit the ones you are targeting. *Put them in your job search spreadsheet:
  • Research the company and their current news. Google them, read recent press releases, read their recent Twitter feed. Learn as much as you can about what’s happening with them lately.
  • Prepare 3 questions and 3 talking points. Have thoughtful questions to ask, even if you already know the answer! It’s an ice breaker. And 3 talking points-things you want to bring up to them to show you’ve done your homework and are informed about their organization. A final question to always ask is: May I stay in touch with you and/or what is the best way to follow up on the job openings you have? When should I do so? What is the time frame for your hiring process?
  • Dress professionally. Enough said.
  • Create a business card for your search, even if you’re a student! has free cards.
  • Practice your elevator pitch on anyone and everyone, and in the mirror! *Great Youtube video about creating your elevator pitch!
  • Have a FIRM handshake. It shows you are assertive and mean business.
  • Make eye contact during the whole conversation with the employer at the table. It’s easy to get distracted at a fair where there’s a lot of noise and bustling around. Tune it out.
  • Say something memorable.  Remember your elevator pitch is about them and answers Who, What, How? Who do you help, with what, and how so? A great way to make it memorable is to start it with a question or statement that anyone, or someone in your industry, would understand or relate to. For example, I’m a coach who helps golfers take 3 strokes off their game. I’m a divorce attorney who helps people end their marriage amicably. A question could be “Do you know how tricky IRS filings can be for nonprofits?  I offer accounting and reporting services specifically optimized to help them.” *Great YouTube video regarding what to prepare for employers – from the employers themselves!

Additional points to help you say something memorable:Are you having trouble understanding your brand? These are 3 ways to begin to identify skills, talents, experience that help define your brand…

  1. Self assessment: Write down 1-2 projects you performed either recently or that stand out in your mind. Tell someone the story. Have them help you identify the skills from that story.
  2. Interview others. Ask them, “What natural skills do you see in me? If a potential employer called you, what would you say my strengths are? What would you say are my unique combination of skills and experience?”
  3. Career/strengths assessments. is a great one we use often with our clients.

Hallie Crawford
Ideal Career Coach

P.S. How do you know if your resume is good? Take this Resume Quiz to find out how to keep your resume out of the trash can.