Wondering how to start a job fair? We take you step-by-step from start to success.
Job Fair Fundamentals
Job fairs are a mixed bag for many job seekers. Although there are plenty of unemployed workers interested in making connections with employers, job search veterans can be skeptical about the usefulness of job fair experiences. So from the outset, you'll want to orient your business plan toward creating an extremely high quality job fair for both job seekers and employers.
From a practical perspective, you'll need to simultaneously market your job fair to multiple constituencies. The challenge will be to convince employers and job seekers to participate in you job fair even though you lack a track record of successful job fair events. For credibility, you may want to create a strategic alliance with an established organization or sponsor until your job fair organization has developed a solid reputation in your market.
Selling Booth Space to Employers
Once you have secured a location for your job fair, you'll need to layout the space and determine booth rental rates. From there, you'll need to contact targeted employers and invite them to purchase a booth at your fair. The idea is to focus on employers that routinely have job openings in your market segment -- recognized employers that aren't hiring will lead to a lower quality job fair experience for job seekers.
Securing employers can be a long and grueling process. But since booth rentals will be your primary source of revenue, you'll need to apply professional selling techniques and deftly convince employers to participate based on a handful of key benefits employers can hope to receive from the event.
How to Recruit Job Seekers
Your reputation as a job fair provider hinges on your ability to attract a high volume of qualified job seekers to your fairs. Mass market advertising is useful in attracting general job seekers, especially when it is targeted to reach job hunters in the local market.
But to improve the quality of the people who attend your job fair, you'll need to take a more sophisticated approach. Start by contacting job placement services and career counselors that cater to your target market and advertising your job fair with regional trade organizations.
For added firepower, consider engaging in online marketing tactics that filter ads by geography, industry and other user criteria. Social media marketing through sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn can be similarly rewarding in attracting higher quality job seekers to your event.
Characteristics of a Good Job Fair Business Plan
Your job fair's business plan should be tailored to your business's unique traits and goals. However, the most effective business plans do address specific sound business plan elements:
- Mission Statement – Your description of your job fair's reason for existing.
- Goals & Objectives – A list of mile markers on your job fair's road to success.
- Financial, Marketing & Action Plans – Each of these plans covers a specific aspect of your job fair's strategy and direction.
Long before you open a job fair within your community, it's a smart move to see what the competition looks like. Use the link below to find competitors in your area. Complete the form by entering your city, state and zip code to get a list of job fairs that are close by.
How are you going to successfully complete with existing firms? It's important that you never underestimate the competition.
Find Good Remote Business Advice
Once you've finished assessing the competion, it's essential that you learn as much as you can from somebody who is already in the business. If you think your local competitors will give you advice, you're being overoptimistic. What's in it for them?
On the other hand, an individual who has a job fair in a different city can be a great learning resource for you, as long as they don't view you as a competitive threat. In fact, they are often very willing to share startup advice with you. Our estimate is that you may have to contact many business owners to find one who is willing to share his wisdom with you.
Where can you find a job fair entrepreneur in another community?
Simply, try our helpful link below, type in a random city/state or zipcode, and start calling.
Three Arguments for Buying a Job Fair
At Gaebler, we think it makes a lot of sense to explore a job fair purchase before committing to a startup.
You'll want to conduct a comprehensive due diligence process, but here are three arguments why you should think about buying instead of a startup.
- Proven Profitability. If you're careful in your research, the job fair you buy will have a track record of profitability – a big plus since it may take months or even years for a startup to turn a profit.
- Established Operations & Processes. Existing businesses are established operations, with the necessary processes, people and other resources already in place.
- Capital Acquisition. Lenders, investors and other funding sources almost always prefer business purchases to startups.
Franchising May Be a Better Way to Go
If you are a newbie entrepreneur, you should evaluate going with a franchise network.
As part of your process in starting a job fair, it's worthwhile to investigate whether franchise opportunities in your space might help you avoid common entrepreneurial mistakes.
The link below gives you access to our franchise directory so you can see if there's a franchise opportunity for you. You might even find something that points you in a completely different direction.
These additional resources regarding starting a business may be of interest to you.
If you already are in business and came here to learn about growing an existing job fair, try these useful resources:
If you sell to job fairs, you're in the wrong place. These resources are more appropriate for you:
If you are interested in starting a different kind of business, please browse our directory of guides below.