Career Fairs and Professional Networking

Explore how job fairs and professional networking can give you a head start on your career search.

Career fairs are excellent ways to find a job and improve your professional networking skills. At a job fair, you can talk with representatives from companies that interest you, find information on companies that are looking for employees, and meet other job seekers. At the very least, you will be able to network with people employed in different fields that interest you and if you’re lucky, you might just walk out with an interview.

To make the most of career fairs and professional networking opportunities, follow these simple tips:

Look for career fairs in college.

College is a great place to search for job fairs because most everyone in college doesn’t have a job yet. Search your college’s student association website or ask on campus if they know when job fairs will be taking place.

These job fairs are perfect because they are always centered on students and the kinds of jobs students would be able to get. Often, colleges will also have additional services like mock interviews, resume help, and job search workshops that can help students improve their chances of securing a job in their field of choice.

Social networking is professional networking.

The Internet is more important than ever in professional networking. Websites like LinkedIn and Monster are perfect examples of how you can find classmates, colleagues and friends and use them to help you in your career search.

Virtually all employers are using some form of social media to search for employees, and employers are more interested in candidates who come with a referral. Knowing someone who works at a company that’s hiring can be a big step in the right direction. If you aren’t taking advantage of what social media has to offer, it’s time to start.

You can find career fairs through your local government.

If you’re out of school or are looking for more than your school offers, your local government may also host career fairs, professional workshops, and professional networking opportunities. For example, the California state government has listings of job fairs and workshops available listed by time and geographic region.

Check to see what options are available. Resume and professional help, services for veterans, non-English speakers, students, and helpful workshops on interviews and coping with the stress of job seeking are often at your disposal.

Career Fairs and Professional Networking: Tips & Tactics

  • Dress for career fairs the same way you would for a job interview. You’re often talking directly to the recruiters at job fairs.
  • Bring multiple copies of your resume with you to all fairs and networking opportunities.
  • Don’t pester recruiters or come off as desperate. Respect their time.
  • Ask for business cards and appropriate times to contact companies you are interested in.

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