How to Prepare for a Job Fair

By Gillian R. RSS Tue, August 14, 2018

When you start seeing advertisements for back to school, you know at least a few things are imminent: crisp cool weather, pumpkin spice lattes, and job fairs are coming to the Free Library! Back for the eleventh year, we are excited to announce our upcoming series of job fairs, made possible by the support of the Citizens Bank Foundation.

Are you ready to impress, dazzle, and wow employers? If not, don’t panic! There’s plenty of time to prepare. Check out our top 7 ways to prep for a job fair (plus what you should do right after the fair!).  

7. Bring copies of your resume
Don’t just bring one or two copies; bring many copies to hand out to employers. Need a resume refresh? Attend resume review sessions on September 12 (during the Career Resource Fair) and October 10. Plus, read part one and part two of our resume refresh tips and tricks blog posts.

6. Dress to impress
First impressions are important; be sure to dress appropriately and professionally. We suggest at least business casual attire.

5. Allow yourself more than enough time
Leave your home with plenty of time to spare. You don’t want to be frantic and sweaty when you arrive at a job fair. Give yourself time to use the restroom, look in the mirror, cool off, and get your bearings. Arriving a bit early allows you the luxury of walking around the fair to identify the location of your priority tables and employers.

4. Research the organizations and companies attending the job fair
Hiring managers are impressed by job seekers that are prepared and well researched. You will stand out from the crowd if you know something about each organization. Try using the Glassdoor company search to find out more information about an organization and their potential company culture. Also, check out their websites and social media pages for insight into news, people, and information. The more informed you are, the more likely you will stand out among the hundreds of job fair attendees.

3. Develop a 30 second pitch
"Tell me about yourself" can be one of the scariest questions you’ll be asked during a job fair. Your reply should be about 30 seconds. Think of it as an elevator pitch where you are selling yourself and your skills to a potential employer. When it comes to crafting a great pitch, practice makes perfect and the BRIC is the perfect place to practice. The Pitch Corner is a semi-private space where you can practice your pitch in front of a video camera and read up on best practices, tips, and tricks. We’ll email you your pitch within 48 hours. (Pro tip: bring a friend and practice together!) The Pitch Corner is open Tuesdays and Thursday from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. and the first Wednesday of the month from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

2. Prepare for potential interviews or interview questions
Check out this list of the most common interview questions. Take some time to outline and prepare your answers. You might be invited to interview on the spot so be prepared. Knowing how you will answer these popular questions will allow you to present yourself professionally. Plus, nothing is more relaxing than confidence in knowing you’re about  to ace an interview. Need more guidance? Be sure to register for a mock interview session on September 5.

1. Attend workforce development workshops and events at the Workplace!
The Workplace is hosting a series of upcoming workforce readiness workshops to prepare you for the upcoming job fairs. Work on your interview skills, have your resume reviewed, and attend a mock interview! Learn about privacy and your online presence, and have a headshot taken for your LinkedIn profile. Finally, explore jobs in the social sector. Additional information about these workshops and more can be found at

Bonus: After the Job Fair

1. Take notes
Take a few minutes after the fair to write down a some notes about the organization, who you spoke with, what you discussed, and any actionables. If you wait too long, all those conversations will get blurry and begin to run together. You can easily keep the details straight if you write it down quickly.

2. Follow up
If you made any promises, be sure you follow up on them. If you said you would connect over LinkedIn or email your portfolio, do it as soon as possible.

3. Send thank you notes
If you had a meaningful conversation, interaction, or interview, write or email the person you met and thank them for their time. Restate your interest in the connection and/or organization and your relevant skills and experiences. Many job seekers skip this step so it will set you apart. Check out this sample thank you note for guidence.

For more information on upcoming Job Fairs at the Free Library visit, Be sure to check out as well for more information on resumes, upcoming events, sample documents, additional resources, and to request an appointment with a librarian.

Have a question for Free Library staff? Please submit it to our Ask a Librarian page and receive a response within two business days.

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