Ideas for Attracting Students, Employers to Spring Career Fairs

January 13, 2020 | By NACE Staff

Students on campus walk to a career fair that they heard about via social media.

TAGS: best practices, branding and marketing, career development, nace insights,

Spotlight for Career Services Professionals

How do you get more students to attend your career fairs? Career services staff often brainstorm new ways to get more students in the door—and NACE members are sharing their latest ideas. Here are several ideas they discussed in the NACE Community:

  • Offer an incentive—One university offers punch cards to students attending industry-specific career fairs. Logos from attending employers are printed on a card that students get punched at the booths they visit. Completed cards are turned in for a gift card drawing.
  • Jazz up the career fair name—Job Fest 2020 is one suggestion.
  • Activate your network—A community college professional asked local businesses for suggestions about who to contact to increase the number of employers at the fair.  Those contacts helped her connect with larger businesses in the area. The short answer to getting more employers to attend your career fairs, she says, is engaging them with face-to-face contacts, phone calls, and word-of-mouth from key contacts.
  • Increase the student-employer interaction—One community college uses a scavenger hunt app to bring together students and employers. Students have the opportunity to win prizes by answering questions about the missions of participating businesses and by getting a selfie taken with a business representative.
  • Give a gift card—Students at a Pennsylvania university who attend the career fair can collect a $10 gift card to a convenience store, or donut or coffee shop. Approximately 225 students attended the institution’s fall 2019 event—and even more are expected this spring.
  • Harness your social media—A small HBCU found social media, with help from staff and faculty, pulled students to a career fair. Another school created a LinkedIn group for registered employers and students to network online prior to the event. Employers could share their hiring needs, and students were able to be better prepared and start conversations with employers.
  • Build rapport with key faculty—Some connect with faculty through faculty/department meetings to share the names of employers and the opportunities—job, internships, co-ops—they offer. At one institution, several faculty members integrated the job fair into their course syllabus, requiring attendance or offering extra credit for taking part.
  • Change the time—One university found the hours of 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. gave a boost in attendance from commuter students, athletes, and graduate students.

How do you get students excited about attending spring job fairs? Add your tips in the NACE Community.

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