#CareerGoals: 3 Tips For Standing Out At Job Fairs


Like many others, when I graduated, I thought that there would be a nice red carpet laid out for me accompanied with a nice comfy corner office job with a desk overlooking the city . . . My fairy tale bubble was quickly busted, as 3 months later I found myself still unemployed with no job prospects in site. I can remember submitting countless cover letters and resumes and hearing nothing back. So, I decided to switch up the process a little and was introduced into the world of job fairs!

Now when we think about job fairs, we may think of the old days when we went door to door, resume in hand, praying that some humble employer would recognize our potential and give us a chance at their organization. We would smile graciously as we handed our nicely printed resume and hope to get a call. Fast forward to 2017, and many job applications are submitted online. Because of this, it can become so easy to get comfortable with applying for jobs from the comfort of your home.

“Although, applying online can be very beneficial and many have found success; there is just something about interacting with a person ‘face to face’ that makes an applicant more memorable.”

You become a face and a personality, rather than just a name on a white sheet of paper. If you are seeking that more personal interaction, then job fairs are the way to go!

Here are 3 few tips for standing out at a job fair:

  1. Do Your Research.

There are numerous job fairs being held throughout the year. Employers are looking for individuals just like you and are eager to meet you. Find out when and where the job fairs are being held in your area and then research some of the companies that will be featured. This will give you a leg up in the competition, in that, you will already be familiar with many of the companies and their vision and goals.

  • Impress the employers by researching the company and then highlighting standout facts about the organization. This will surely make you stand out from the bunch!
  1. Dress Professionally.

This may seem like common sense but you would be surprised how many job seekers show up to job fairs, looking as if they just rolled out of bed. Think of a job fair as an “on the spot” interview.

  • Dress conservatively in dark or neutral colors, such as black or gray. Stay away from loud prints or busy designs.
  • Do not wear tight or short fitting outfits that reveal too much skin or cleavage.
  • Wear conservative hairstyles and jewelry.
  • Wear conservative heels (3 inches or lower)
  1. Come Prepared.

Make sure to have at least 10-12 copies of your most up to date cover letter and resume. Make sure to double check for any spelling errors; your resume should be flawless.

  • It may help to keep your CVL/resume in a folder so that it is easily accessible.
  • Be prepared to talk in further detail about the items listed on your resume.
  • Smile and be warm and friendly.
  • Look the employer directly in the eye when conversing.
  • Give a firm hand shack.

Job searching can be a daunting task, but in the end, it will be worth it when you land the job of your dreams! We want to hear from you! Please tell us any additional suggestions or tips you have for job searching or job fairs!!!

Shannan Burrell

Campus Contributor

Shannan Dione Burrell was born in Heidelberg, Germany. Growing up, she thrived in the areas of performing arts, participating in dance, theater, and music. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Broadcast Journalism from Hampton University, Hampton, Virginia, in 2010 and is currently pursuing her Master’s degree in Film and Video at American University, Washington D.C., where she is scheduled to graduate May of 2017. Shannan has always had a passion for volunteering and helping others within her community. She has been an active member of her church Emmanuel AME Church in Fredericksburg, Virginia. Throughout her years at Emmanuel, she has participated in numerous ministries including the Praise Dance Ministry, Young Adult Ministry, Youth Ministry, and Women’s Ministry. Shannan grew up a member of the Girl Scouts of America organization. Her 12 years as a Girl Scout prepared her to become an effective volunteer within the community and a role model for young women. Shannan is currently volunteering with the Best Kids mentoring program in Washington, D.C., which specializes in mentoring inner city youth and foster children. Shannan also has a passion and vison for storytelling through media. She has over 10 years of experience within the media field, which includes numerous internships with companies including Arena Stage Theater in Washington D.C., The Ft. Belvoir Eagle Newspaper in Ft. Belvoir, Virginia, Clear Channel Communications in Rockville, Maryland and Gannett/USA Today in McLean, Virginia. Her many years of experience have prompted her to write, direct, and produce over 15 original productions for her church and community. Shannan’s mentors and role models are that of her family, church family, and fellow aspiring African American women in the media field such as Ava DuVernay and Oprah Winfrey, who have worked at paving the way for minority storytellers within the entertainment industry. Shannan hopes one day to open up a production company for minorities, which will inspire, motivate, and empower them to follow their passions through the arts. Shannan’s favorite scripture is Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” She credits this verse for inspiring her to overcome all obstacles within her life and to work hard to succeed and excel at being a good role model for young women within her church and community.

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