Job Fairs: 5 Tips on How to Get Noticed (Part 2/2)

You’ve done your research, you know what you want, and now you’re prepared for the actual event. What do you do when you finally arrive? Here are 2 more tips to help you really stand out at the actual fair itself.

4. Ask Specific Questions

So you’re done your research, and you’ve done your preparation. Now what? You need to start approaching people at the booths and try to make a strong impression. Over the course of 1 day, I’ll probably talk to over 50 people, and will have heard all the boring questions and standard pitches. If you want to stand out, asking an intelligent and insightful question will be a like a breath of fresh air to me, and the key to being noticed.

Stay away from asking “selfish” questions, questions all about you, such as: what roles are there for me? What training do I get? What is the salary range for this position? Let other’s ask these basic questions, while you stand nearby and hear the answer.

When it comes to your turn, always start by introducing yourself. You’d be surprised at the numbers of times that this never happens. Then start your question with a preamble – a short description of what you know, what you’ve read, what you’ve heard from others about the topic you want to discuss. This will give you a chance to show off all the research and preparation you’ve done ahead of time. Be specific whenever possible and stay away from open-ended questions, such as, “what is the favourite thing you like about the company?” This does not impress anyone.

Once you’ve gotten my attention with your good questions, you can then start to talk about yourself and your strengths, the roles you’re interested in, and how you hope to contribute. If you want to stand out, you need to be unique but genuine, and really show your deep knowledge. Just remember this, when it comes to questions, it’s not about you, it’s about them.

A good way to build your confidence and to get some practice is to start by approaching companies you’re interested in learning more about, before you head to the ones that you’re extremely interested in.

5. Close Strong & Follow-Up

As a company representative at a job fair, it is my job to talk to as many people as I can. Once you’ve had your opportunity to ask 1-2 questions, thank me and move on. Be respectful and don’t monopolize my time. If you think you’ve made a connection, or if you have more questions, then ask for a name card.

More often than not, if you’ve done a good job presenting yourself, and asking intriguing questions, I’ll want to keep in touch with you, and even ask for your name or resume. That’s why I’m spending my time at the fair, to scout out potential top talent.

Once you’ve obtained a name card, make sure you follow-up with an email within 24hrs. In this email, keep it short and sweet, but be sure to reference something specific about the conversation we had so I can recall your face in my mind. Remember, I’ll most likely have spoken to over 50 people in a day, so sending a simple, “Thanks for your time, please keep in touch” is not very helpful.

If you’re not asked, or you’re given an excuse about not having anymore name cards, take that as a big hint that you probably haven’t succeeded in standing out. If you then proceed by asking if I’ll take your resume, I will of course say yes; however, the chances that resume will lead to anything are slim to none.

The best part about a job fair is that you have an immediate opportunity to try again with the next booth. However, before you head over there, take a second to think about what went wrong and where you can improve. The opportunity to accelerate your job search is real, so before you decide to just ask the same standard and boring questions as everyone else, take the time to follow these tips in order to get noticed. The more practice, the better you will get.


  1. Ken Tan March 4, 2011 11:22 pm 

    Nice article with some interesting insights! Job fairs are useful when it comes to masses. However, I agree most people in general are not well prepared for a quick 30 seconds speech to cast a lasting impression. This includes the speech style & dress sense. After which, get the name card and do a close follow up.

    Rather, they shove their resumes. primarily there may be other factors in place such as shyness and the environment; for instance the perception of “too many people at the booth”.

    The good thing is that the job fairs are great sources to sniff out information about the general trends and demand; for example the hiring of qualified child care teachers.

    Pleasure to know you and if fate permits, we could meet up at Career 2011

    Ken Tan
    Career Coach

  2. JK March 5, 2011 1:23 am 

    Thanks for visiting the site Ken and for your comments. I’ll be at Career 2011 on both Saturday & Sunday afternoon, so if you are around and do see me, please come up and introduce yourself.



  3. Ken Tan March 13, 2011 2:34 pm 

    Hi Jonathan

    Yes, I was at the Career 2011 fair 🙂 Wanted to introduce myself and have a brief chat but noticed you are swarmed with queries.

    Great talk on interviews!

    Will drop you a note via email soon.

    Ken Tan

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