Preparing for a Job Fair: Useful Resources & Helpful Tips for Job Seekers

Posted on May 17, 2023 at 6:00 am

By Stacey Goddard

This month brings us the 10th anniversary of the NonStop Local KHQ/WorkSource Job Fair. Mark your calendars for Thursday, May 25, 11am to 2pm, at the Spokane Convention Center, for this spring job fair where anyone and everyone is invited to attend!

This is the biggest event of its type in the Inland Northwest, and over a hundred employers will be there looking for candidates to fill hundreds of full- and part-time positions. Several employers will also be looking for people to fill seasonal positions, which are great options for students and others looking for summer employment.

Whether you’ve been looking for a job for a while, are interested in changing careers, or are in the market for your very first job, attending a job fair is a terrific opportunity to explore a wide range of employment options.

If you’ve never attended a job fair before, the experience might sound intimidating or potentially overwhelming. Here are some strategies to help you enjoy your time at the event and increase your chances of finding a job that is the right fit for you.

Do Your Homework

Is there a specific employer you’re particularly interested in talking to at the event? Before the job fair, do your best to find out which companies will have booths at the fair. For the NonStop Local KHQ/WorkSource Job Fair, you can sign up for updates about the event (and also be entered into a raffle for giveaway prizes). In other cases, you may find social media posts from companies or see a news article about the job fair to find out which businesses are attending, if you can’t get the list ahead of time.

Once you’ve identified companies that will be at the job fair, visit the company websites to learn more about them. Knowing how long they’ve been in business, what goals and initiatives they are working on, and the type of products or services they offer shows a potential employer that you really are interested in working for them.

Other things to keep in mind as you check out a company include: Do the company’s mission and goals align with your own? Are you excited by the prospect of doing the work they do?

Employers appreciate engaged candidates who have done their research. Think about what questions you’d like to ask that employer, either when you visit their booth or if they want to interview you. Write your questions down so you don’t forget!

Be Prepared

A crucial tool for every job seeker is the resume. Create or update yours ahead of time so you’re ready to hand it out at the event. My colleague Crystal has written several blogs about our digital resource JobNow: one about getting help from live, online coaches and another about getting help updating your resume, preparing for interviews, and transitioning through a career change.

And of course, we have books to help with resume writing in our collection that I share below.

Print out some copies of your resume to have some on hand to give to potential employers during the fair. At the fair at our SCLD booth, we will have a computer lab available so that you can print out additional copies if you run out.

Along with having printouts, I suggest saving a copy of your resume in your cloud storage or emailing it to yourself. This way you have it to submit electronically if you fill out an online application at the job fair.

These books in our collection are helpful for writing and revising your resume:

Another part of being prepared is having an email account. If you don’t already have one, be sure to create one before the event. Most employers only accept online applications, so having a valid email address is necessary.

Tip: If your current email address isn’t as professional sounding as you’d like, take the time to create one that is. For example, my old unicornlover@ email address is not something I would want to use on job applications. Instead, I’ve created a more professional staceygoddard@ email address to use.

Dress for Success

This may be obvious to most people, but I’m going to say it anyway: dress to make a positive impression with prospective employers.

Leave your pajama pants, torn shirts, ripped jeans, and other casual, leisure wear at home. That doesn’t mean you need to wear a three-piece suit or blazer. It does mean that the clothes you wear should be clean and in good condition. Basic hygiene—showering, brushing your teeth and hair, using deodorant—is also important for making a positive impression.

Prepare for Interviews

Some employers will be doing on-the-spot interviews at the job fair, so be prepared to participate in an interview. This is when doing the homework that I mentioned earlier will come in handy.

Think about what to include in your one-minute “elevator speech” about yourself to prospective employers. What skills and experience do you want to highlight that demonstrate you are a great candidate?

Our catalog also has books with preparation tips and interviewing techniques, if you’d like to check one out. Here are a few:

Create a Plan

Job fairs can get overwhelming pretty quickly with all the people, noise, and general chaos.

My best recommendation to combat this is to take some time to study the layout of the room, and check the map of employer booth locations you get when you arrive. Identify the top five or six employers you want to visit while at the job fair, and mark them on your map. Then take a deep breath and make your way to the first booth.

If you have time (and the energy!) after making your rounds, stop by Spokane County Library District’s booth and say hello. We’ll be hiring for a couple of positions this month as well as providing our computer lab and other career resources to anyone who needs them during the fair.

After the Job Fair

If you aren’t able to take part in the big job fair this month, other hiring events occur regularly in Spokane County. Two places to check for upcoming events are the Spokane Workforce Council’s events page and WorkSource Spokane’s events calendar.

If you don’t feel ready to attend a job fair and would like to learn more about the library’s resources, you can schedule a Book-a-Librarian appointment for help navigating our online resources and tools created specifically for job hunting and career assessment.

Stacey Goddard

Stacey Goddard loves being able to work with small business owners and people looking to change careers as part of her job as a Public Services Manager for Spokane County Library District. She’s also a fan of helping folks increase their financial literacy, especially after her own ill-advised spending decisions in her 20s and 30s! Outside of work, Stacey enjoys buying cookbooks to browse and probably never use, binge-watching fashion competition shows, and planning her next vacation to the Oregon Coast.

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