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Navigating a job fair

Mel Rising Dawn Cordeiro

Managing Editor

Image via Edmond Dantès/Pexels

Navigating a job fair can seem like a daunting task. After all, job fairs lead to new networking opportunities and potential job opportunities. You can make the most of this opportunity with a little preparation. Here are some tips to make attending a job fair successful:

The first, and maybe most important step, is to prepare your resume. Make sure it is up to date. Having a generic version is okay, but if there is a specific company you are taking interest in, you can tailor your resume specifically to that company. Print and bring several copies to hand out to prospective employers. If you need help writing your resume, or even a cover letter, you can contact the Career Development Center, located on Level 1 of the Adams Library, at or by calling them at 401-456-8031. They will be more than happy to help you.

If you know what companies are going to be there, feel free to do some research. Most job fairs provide a list of participating companies. Take some time to research the companies that interest you. Take a look at their mission statement, open positions and anything else you find interesting or would like to learn more about. Doing this research will help you to prioritize which companies you would like to visit with first and will allow you to come better prepared.

So, about those companies you researched. Do you have any questions about them, their mission statement, the populations they serve, etc.? Be prepared with questions. Prospective employers like this, as it shows that you’re interested in their company. No question is off the table, whether it be about the positions they are hiring for, or about the history of the company itself.

Likewise, take notes. It is perfectly acceptable to carry about a notebook and to take notes on the companies you meet with. This will help you immensely, especially if you decide to meet with a company whom you did not originally plant to meet with. Write down any and all important information. You’ll see why in a moment.

Dress professionally. Professional attire shows that you are serious about finding a job and making connections. You do not need to be dressed like you are meeting royalty, but you should appear to be kept and neat. A suit and tie or dress may not be appropriate, but a suit or sports jacket, an appropriate top and wrinkle-free pants are the way to go.

Be confident and personable. It’s okay to stutter over your words a little, but ensuring eye contact, smiling and being overall pleasant to everyone you meet will go a long way. Be sure to introduce yourself. If it would make you feel more comfortable, prepare an elevator speech. Why are you seeking a job in this field? What’s your motivation? These things are traits that employers look for in potential employees.

Do you remember those notes you took? Here’s where they come in handy. Make sure you follow up with the companies you met with. That evening, or the next day, consider sending a thank you email, or making a thank you phone call to the representative you spoke with. This will reiterate to the company your interest in them and it will make you a memorable candidate.

Job fairs are not scary events. They can seem intimidating, but once you walk around the fair, you will begin to relax and will be able to talk to any prospective employer. If you need some practice, you can always ask a friend or family member to do a mock interview session with you. Being prepared is key and no one will hold nerves against you.

If you are looking for new networking opportunities or a new position, Rhode Island College’s Career Development Center is hosting a job and internship fair on Wednesday, April 5 in the Student Union Ballroom from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. This job fair is open to all majors.

There will also be another job and internship fair for Health and Human Services majors on Wednesday, April 12 in the Student Union Ballroom from 12:30 p.m. to 2:00 p.m.

Registration for these fairs are available through Handshake, and upon registration, you will see a list of participating employers. If you have any questions, please reach out to the Career Development Center at the email address or phone number provided above.


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