Welcome to the ultimate guide on attending job fairs – your insider to navigating the maze of opportunities and landing your dream job. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or a newbie to the job fair scene, this guide is your roadmap to making the most out of every handshake, conversation, and free swag opportunity. So, channel your inner networking guru, and get ready to take on the job fair!

Where to Find Job Fairs

While turning to Google first is useful, you might not connect with companies in your industry at the general list of events it suggests. Here’s a short list of places to look to find job fairs that align more with your values and career aspirations:

  • College/University Job Centers
  • Job Search Platforms
  • Industry Associations
  • Local Community Centers
  • Professional Associations
  • Social Media Groups
  • Industry Trade Shows
  • Conventions 
  • Government Agencies

How to Prepare for a Job Fair

Similar to the interview process, preparing for a job fair requires the basic materials one would need to show up professionally. Below are some tricks and tips to ensure even the tiniest of bad luck won’t spoil your plans. 

Update Your LinkedIn Profile

Our online presence is equally as important as how we show up physically. Recruiters and HR managers will try to connect with you after the fair. If it’s blank or has old information, they are more likely to pass you over in favor of someone else. Especially update your profile if you attend virtual or hybrid career fairs as it could be the first thing they review before seeing you. 

Tailor Your Resume

Treat a job fair as if you are applying for the job. Find the top skills mentioned in a few open positions and edit your resume highlighting experiences that align with them. Consider bringing two to three versions of your resume so each company you visit receives the best resume for them. 

Research Participating Employers

Take the time to research the companies and their open positions. Familiarize yourself with their mission, values, products, services, and job openings to tailor your conversations and demonstrate your interest. Plus, it will help you make a plan of attack when you visit the job fair, ensuring you use your time as efficiently as possible. 

Practice Your Elevator Pitch

Prepare a brief, compelling elevator pitch that highlights your top skills, details your career goal, and expresses your enthusiasm. It will be your answer to the most common question you will receive, “Tell me about yourself.”

Choose Your Outfit the Night Before

It’s no secret that business casual is the go-to dress code for the job search process. But we often think of professional attire as drab, neutral colors void of personality. At a job fair, wearing pops of color, patterns, and eye-catching accessories can be the difference between getting a call and getting lost in the shuffle. The recruiters and HR leaders you meet will see hundreds to thousands of people throughout the event. They may not remember your name, but they will remember a pink floral tie, wooden watch, or artsy earring. 

Even if you attend a virtual or hybrid job fair, wearing more professional attire can give you that extra boost of confidence to shake off any last-minute nerves. No one might see the pants you wear, but you can still dress for the job you want.

Clean Your Background for Virtual Fairs

Your background is displayed anytime you are on camera during a virtual or hybrid job fair. Ensure that the visible space is tidy, as a messy room will not give off the impression you are organized or can handle multiple projects. Yet, you do not have to sit by a blank white wall. Family photos, artwork, a corkboard, or other decorations can spark conversation and show your personality to potential employers.

Test Your Technology

For virtual and hybrid job fairs, ensure your computer, internet connection, and any necessary software or platforms work correctly before it begins. Every minute counts on timed virtual calls with recruiters, don’t waste them fighting your technology. 

What to Bring to a Job Fair

Copies of Your Updated Resume

If you are applying to the same role, carry multiple copies of your resume in a folder to easily share it with recruiters during conversations or interviews. Print at least one resume per booth you want to visit and a couple extra for any other companies that catch your eye at the job fair.

If you are applying to various types of roles, tailor your resume to each role. For instance, you may be interested in being an administrative assistant, receptionist, and human resources coordinator. You should bring three versions of your resume tailored to the qualifications of each role. Before the fair, you can view the open position titles of each company attending and estimate how many copies of each version of your resume you should print. You should not give anyone more than one copy of your resume.


If you are in a creative industry that uses portfolios, offering a QR code, website link, or even physical copies of your portfolio can set you apart from other candidates.

Business Cards

It may seem old-fashioned to hand out business cards, but they are the simplest way to exchange contact information. Job fairs are as much a chance to find a job as to grow your network. You never know who you will meet and want to connect with. Electronic business cards are a great alternative when you attend virtual job fairs. 

Notepad and Pen

Job fairs can easily become information overload. To help you remember, take notes after conversations with recruiters to capture important information, and jot down follow-up actions or key takeaways. 

Work Bag

The free swag can easily pile up. Bring something large enough to carry all the merchandise, papers, resumes, and contact information, but small enough that it won’t weigh you down throughout the event.

Water and Mints

A bottle of water will help you stay hydrated as you walk around and chat people up. Plus, a tin of mints ensures your bad breath won’t be why others remember you. 

Job Fair Etiquette 

The best advice for how to act at a job fair is to be yourself! You spend so much time at your job and work is much more enjoyable if you like the people around you. Below are a few tips to give you a leg up on other candidates and solidify you as a top choice. 

Arrive Early

Job fairs can get crowded fast. Avoid the lines by showing up early and getting as much time at each booth as possible. If you can’t come early, arriving a bit towards the end of the event will also allow you to rely on recency bias. 

For virtual or hybrid fairs, feel free to come and go throughout the fair exploring the different companies and presentations. However, if you have a scheduled conversation, try to be online and ready at least five minutes before the call. It is always better to be prepared early than to rush at the last minute.

Meet Your Line Neighbors 

Job fairs gather people from all over. Take it as a networking opportunity to meet the people around you in line. Get a feel for which booths to avoid, where the best swag is located, or what food to try in the area. It can be a great way to practice talking to strangers if it’s new for you.

Be Curious about the People Manning the Booth 

Likely, the people you talk to are not the interviewer nor will they work in the department you apply for. They are most likely a part of the HR department or outside recruiters hired by the organization. While they may not have all the answers for you, making a good impression is still important as they are there to weed out candidates. Ask them questions about themselves, how they got into the company, what the work culture is like, and more.

Ask for the Next Steps

You should leave each company with clear action items. If you do not know how to apply or who to reach out to with questions, then ask for the next steps. 


Instead of waiting for someone to reach out to you, be proactive and reach out to them. Send a follow-up email or LinkedIn message that thanks them for their time and demonstrates your interest in the organization. It keeps you at the top of their inbox and makes you more memorable. 

Conversation Starters for Job Fairs

Initiating conversations can be intimidating, but prepared conversation starters can help break the ice. Here are some ideas to help you get the conversation flowing: 

“Hello! I’m [Your Name]. Can you tell me about your experience with [Company Name]?”

“I’ve been following [Company Name] for some time and am impressed by [specific aspect of the company]. I’m interested in learning more about how I can contribute to your team.”

“I noticed that [Company Name] recently launched [new product, initiative, or project]. I’m curious to hear more about how this impacts your hiring needs and what opportunities are available.”

“I’m particularly passionate about [specific industry or skill]. Can you tell me more about how [Company Name] is innovating in this area?”

By leveraging job fairs, you can enhance your chances of success and accelerate your career. Whether you’re a recent graduate or a seasoned professional, job fairs can provide anyone with a pathway to new opportunities and professional growth.

Register for a Job Fair Today!

Let us take care of the search for you and introduce you to the career fairs hosted by the Professional Diversity Network (PDN). PDN partners with companies in every industry nationally to connect them with qualified candidates like yourself! Choose from local, virtual, or themed job fairs and meet your next employer!