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Career Fairs

Overview

Career fairs are career awareness opportunities for larger groups of students that may be organized by schools and employers to introduce students to opportunities within an industry or in multiple industries.

Benefits

  • Enable a large number of students to explore a variety of career opportunities efficiently (in a concentrated period of time in a single location)
  • Allow students to practice the career readiness skills of communicating effectively and appropriately through speaking, writing, and professional etiquette
  • Provide the opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of all aspects of their industries
  • Engage students critical thinking and decision making as they meet with various career professionals and learn more about the responsibilities and rewards of each career field or pathway they represent
  • Encourage networking by making connections with potential employers and mentors
  • Inform students of a range of job and career opportunities available in the community and area
  • Provide the opportunity for students to learn about work-based learning opportunities such as internships
  • Build partnerships with the business community and get prospective business partners involved in the efforts of career and technical education teachers and school counselors
 

Success Factors

  • Design career fairs with the specific target audience age ranges in mind.
  • Start preparing early, allowing the advance lead time necessary (5-6 months minimum recommended) for working out the logistics of the event (date, times, location, invitation list, etc.)
    • Avoid holidays, test dates, high stress times
    • Gain participation from as many other teachers/administrators as possible
  • Enlist a career day planning team to organize and carry out major tasks.
  • Compile a database of local employers (businesses, non-profit organizations, government agencies)
  • Invite twice as many presenters as you think you will need.
  • Cover all six Career Fields found on the Nebraska Career Education Model (Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources; Business, Marketing, and Management; Communication and Information Systems; Human Sciences and Education; Health Sciences; Skilled and Technical Sciences)
  • Intentionally focus on all post-high school career options (certificate programs, apprenticeships, specialized training programs, 2-year postsecondary, 4-year postsecondary, military service)
  • Provide specific, detailed information to career fair presenters on how to maximize the benefit to the participating students by sharing:
    • How and why they chose their career field/profession
    • Training and/or education necessary
    • Career readiness skills essential to their success
  • Provide classroom preparation for the career fair experience
  • Develop a master schedule
  • Have students conduct preparatory research on companies that will be represented at the career fair
  • Organize a welcome session to greet career fair presenters/speakers
  • Provide opportunities for students to reflect on what they learned during the career fair interactions
  • Send thank-you notes or letters to all career fair presenters
  • Have students practice appropriate follow-up communication skills by writing thank-you notes or letters to all career fair presenters and volunteers

Adapted from the following sources:

10 Tips for Career Day Success, ASCA School Counselor, November 1, 2010

Host a Career Day, Envision Blog, October 13, 2015

How to Plan a School Career Day

Career Related Education Manual, revised 2012, Georgia Department of Education, July 2012