Debra Davenport (Executive Professional Mentor, Licensed Career Counselor & Employment Agent) gives expert video advice on: How should I prepare for meetings at a job fair? and more...
What is a "job fair"?
Jobs or career fairs are usually large events where anywhere from twenty to two hundred employers will come to a convention centre or exhibition hall. They'll have booths and hiring representatives there. A job fair attracts a large, large amount of people. Those recruiters are there all day collecting resumes and conducting on-site interviews. Most of the time job fairs, career fairs, are for lower level positions and the companies who come to the career fairs are usually looking to hire a lot of the same types of people. So, whether they be technical people or administrative or service people, those are typically the types of jobs that you're going to find there. Usually you're not going to find the mid to upper level management types of positions available at job fairs. However, if you're looking for something at entry level, a job fair might not be a bad place to go.
What are some different types of job fairs?
Regarding job fairs, Universities will have career fairs where employers will come to campuses and recruit new graduates. There are also community-wide career fairs, where a city perhaps will put on a career fair where 1 to 15 employers will come to a convention center with the public welcome. There are also industry specific career fairs, technology for example or healthcare, and those types of organizations, again, will come together hiring representatives to look to fill any number of different types of positions.
How effective are job fairs in my job search?
Well, let me be very honest about this question. Everyone I have know whose attended a career fair has come back to say "career fairs suck." I am just going to be very candid about that. I don't have really high regard for career fairs because unless you're looking for a very low-level, entry-level type of position, it's probably not going to be the place where you're going to find your dream job. So, you need to focus on strategies that are going to be more effective for you, particularly if your career is really important to you. If you are just looking for a summer job or an intern type of position that you're not really going to be really passionate about, I would say a career fair might be a viable way to go. However, I think most people are looking for a career that they really love, that they want to grow with and really make something of, and typically career fairs don't offer those types of long-term, really good positions.