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How to Organize a Successful Job Fair

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Job fairs streamline the hiring process by bringing together employers and job seekers and making it easy for both to see if there’s a potential match. A job fair can require months of planning because it involves not only basics, such as finding a venue, but also more complex tasks, such as coordinating the target audience of professionals and the types of hiring organizations represented.

Finding a Venue

The location should be large enough to accommodate both the anticipated attendees and the number of companies you hope will sign up. If you’re planning a community-wide event, such as one for an entire town or city, you might need a venue as large as a convention and events center or the state fairgrounds. A community center or hotel conference room may suffice for smaller events that feature a specific industry -- such as health care, for example -- or a particular group, such as high school students. Also, evaluate your budget before you scout locations and pick one several months in advance in case that venue has a long waiting list.

Setting a Budget

Review your budget and determine how much to allocate to each component of your job fair plan. For example, in addition to paying for a facility, you may need to rent furniture, such as chairs and tables for the booths. You’ll also need to allot money for advertising, such as the cost of printing flyers or buying print ads in the local newspaper. In addition, you’ll likely need to hire temporary workers to staff the fair. Beef up your budget by enlisting corporate sponsors. Encourage them to fund the event with sponsorship packages that include free booths at the fair and other perks.

Publicizing Your Event

To gain the most exposure and attract the most participants and corporate sponsors, get the word out early. If you’re planning a university job fair, reach out to companies who employ a large number of your alumni. Also approach companies that hire a wide range of occupations or that are important employers within your community. For example, if you’re planning an event for a small city, contact large employers that hire mostly local workers. Market your event through a variety of media, including email, corporate partnerships, traditional advertising and press releases. Your marketing materials should highlight major employers participating and outline how job seekers will benefit by attending.

Other Considerations

An effective job fair addresses the needs and concerns of your intended audience and helps job seekers with every aspect of their job search. To achieve this, enlist advocates for specific populations, such as people whose first language is not English, people with disabilities, and older job seekers, including retirees looking for part-time work. Help employers and job seekers by offering seminars on topics such as how to write an effective resume or how to comply with state and federal labor laws.