Advice for Successfully Navigating a Job Fair

Criterion | Careers | Vienna

Advice for Successfully Navigating a Job Fair


By Krissy Rogers, Recruiting Manger

Grab your swag bag and pack your resumes! It is time for the job fair. You and hundreds of others are about to embark on the hand-shaking, card-exchanging, elevator-pitching exercise that may open the door to the career of your dreams. As a recruiter, I’d like to give you some advice to successfully navigating the job fair. It is not just about showing up: preparation is key!

What to Do in Advance:

  • Research the companies that will be in attendance. You should know what the company does, recent news, and be able to explain why you want to join them.
  • Prepare your elevator pitch (think of this as a verbal cover letter). Tell me about your background and your future career goals. For example: “I’m John Doe, I graduated from Harvard, I’m currently working in X role, and I am interested in furthering my career in this area.”

What to Bring:

  • Bring multiple copies of your resume. Keep it to two pages, max. Here’s a good structure: Summary, Education, Certs, Clearance, and then Work History. I would encourage you to be concise with the wording of the resume. People who write in paragraph form lose a recruiter’s interest when they only have 30 seconds or so to glance over it.
  • Separate folder to collect company hand outs (as well as a bag for Swag). You don’t want to lose your resume among other papers and have to waste time searching for it. Companies also like to give out swag like hand sanitizer, stress balls, lanyards, pens, gum and candy. You don’t want to be shoving these items into your purse or briefcase, only to fall out when you are digging for your resume!

Make the Ask:

  • If you are interested in the company, ask if you can connect with the recruiter via LinkedIn and ask for a card. This shows you are serious and helps us recruiters more easily organize our follow ups.

Criterion participates in a lot of career fairs, which we announce ahead of time on our blog and LinkedIn . Our next one is at Langley AFB in Virginia on March 15. We look forward to seeing you there!