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Are Career Fairs Just for Students?



Are Career Fairs Just For Students?

By Ashley Collins,


One of the many great services made available to college and university students is the campus career fair.  An opportunity for students to spend a few hours perusing countless informational booths, manned by representatives they’ve never met before, but yet are the gatekeepers to their future.  Career service representatives log numerous hours recruiting companies, preparing students and planning for these momentous events.  Unfortunately, not every student attends their campus career fair and those who do are probably not considering that this could be their last opportunity to walk the aisles of a career fair and give their elevator pitch to employers.  The operative word here is could.    


As a professional alumnus of an institution, your alma mater may allow alumni to attend their campus career fairs.  However, it is important to consider that typically, company representatives attending the fair are there with the goal of recruiting new graduates and may not have immediate information about openings for more experienced job seekers.  However, check with your alumni organization on campus, they may offer career fairs that are exclusively for alumni, meaning employers in attendance would be looking for someone like yourself.


Depending on where you live, your community may offer job fairs for more experienced professionals.  These may be hosted by civic organizations, economic development groups, or other organizations that represent a specific community of people who could be looking for employment.  Local newspapers or social media groups can be great resources to find out if there is a career fair being hosted in your area. 


However, career fairs don’t have to be in-person local events.  This fall is excited to offer two virtual career fairs for both collegiate and professional job seekers.  Virtual career fairs allow both the company representative and the job seeker to have a conversation about the company and their job vacancies via chat room type technology from anywhere with internet connection.  Additionally, companies have the option of including multiple representatives from their organization in the fair.  Allowing the employer, to cost-efficiently, have subject matter experts as a resource to answer technical questions the job seeker may have while representatives from human resources are there to provide guidance on the application process. 


For the job seeker the virtual career fair provides more opportunity to ask in-depth questions regarding positions and the company that otherwise, at a face-to-face career fair, they may feel too rushed to inquire about.  Virtual career fairs are great for job seekers who are willing to relocate.  The event attracts a more diverse offering of companies compared to traditional community career fairs which may only include local employers. 


A common complaint job seekers have is that when they apply to a position via an online website they often feel that their information has gone into a black hole, or that they never hear back from the company.  These virtual career fairs will allow job seekers to have the opportunity to connect and chat with representatives so they have a better understanding of the job and how it matches their qualifications as well as what the application process includes and what the next steps are for someone wanting to apply.  


The first virtual career fair is hosting will be on September 27th and is targeted exclusively to those job seekers who have their resume uploaded to the resume database.  Those job seekers who have a resume in the database will receive an email invitation from in the coming week to participate in the event.  You must have an active resume in the database before September 15th to receive an invitation.  The second virtual career fair will be on October 6th and is targeted to those job seekers who have or who are pursuing a two-year/diploma/technical degree or certification.  In 2015 50% of the 81,386 jobs posted on required a two-year degree or less and career fairs opportunities for these skill and trade employees are often harder to come by than at the four-year level.   Any employer looking to recruit candidates within the agricultural industry is welcome to participate.  More information about each fair can be found on the career fair page


So career fairs are for more than just college students and there are a variety of career fair options to explore.  Experienced job seekers should look for not only traditional career fairs being offered by the college or university they attend but also local or organizational based events as well as virtual ones! Going the extra mile to participate in any form of career fair and the opportunity to connect with the employer face-to-face or via chat could be the deciding factor that helps you land your next career!