How to Work a Career Fair, Part One: Preparing Your Pitch

Preparing Your Pitch and Marketing Materials
By Pamela Kleibrink Thompson, Career Navigator

Industry specific job fairs or career fairs like the one at the NAB Show on April 9 can be an excellent source of job leads.  But don’t expect to get a job offer at a job fair.  This is the place to make face-to-face connections with potential employers.  To get the most out of the NAB Show Career Fair, prepare carefully before you go. In this first in a series of articles, you’ll find tips about what to do and what you can expect from a career fair.

What is a Career Fair?

A career fair is a huge recruiting event where you can talk to many employers in one day. Be prepared for a crowd and get there early. The Career Fair at the NAB Show also offers seminars for attendees.   Please see my article at

Because all job fairs feature a large number of employers, they will attract an even larger number of job applicants.

Why do companies Participate in Career Fairs?

Companies looking for top talent can meet with people from all over the world in one place. Companies participate in career fairs in order to meet with many artists and technical candidates  in one place and in a short time. Companies participate in job fairs because they are an incredibly efficient way to build the talent pool.

I already have a job in the industry should I attend the job fair?

If you’re unhappy in your job, or frustrated by lack of opportunity for advancement, a job fair is a good place to investigate other companies and meet other prospective employers.

However, employers as well as prospective employees attend job fairs. Even if your current employer does not attend, it is certainly possible that you will be recognized by someone, and your attendance might be reported to your boss. If you value your current job, a job fair may be a risky place to casually investigate other opportunities.

What marketing materials should I prepare?

Include your cell number and (with area code) and hotel contact information on your résumé in case an employer wants to contact you during the NAB show.  You want the employer to be able to reach you at any time. Include your name, permanent contact information, and email address on your resume and anything else you give an employer so he or she can contact you after the show too.

Applicants should have plenty of copies of their résumés, demo reels and shot breakdowns.  Shot breakdowns are important because without them employers cannot know what the applicant was responsible for. A shot breakdown is a list describing what you did on every shot on your reel. If you did everything, say so. Some people put slates on their reel before each shot describing what they did.  Put your best stuff up front.  Keep your reel concise and include only high quality work.  Label your reel with your name and contact info.  Your reel is not a history of your career.  It should represent only your best work.

You must be ready to pitch yourself in 15 seconds. Write down five strong reasons why someone would want to hire you (what makes you special and unique). Pick the strongest one and pinpoint accomplishments or experiences in which that asset was instrumental to your success. If you have trouble with this, ask family, friends or co-workers to help you identify the one or more qualities that set you apart from others competing for jobs. Once you have identified an exceptional quality that goes beyond the basic qualifications for the job, you need to communicate this to potential employers in your 15-second sales pitch.

Be prepared to present yourself clearly, smoothly and with confidence in 15 seconds.  Before you pitch you’ll want to find out who you are pitching to and what their interest might be.

For example, my pitch to recruiting clients would be different than my pitch to career coaching clients.

Identify who you are. “My name is Pamela Thompson.”

Describe in one or two sentences your profession, occupation, or background. “I help creative and technical companies succeed by sourcing outstanding talent.  I’m an independent recruiter with a production background so I know what employers need.  Former clients include Disney, Fox, and Blackmagic Design.”

Specify what you want from the person you’re talking to. “I’m looking for a company that needs help finding top talent.”

You can vary this basic pitch depending on the situation, your audience and what aspect of your background you want to highlight. Be able to present this thumbnail picture clearly, smoothly and with confidence.

Look for more tips on how to prepare for a Career Fair soon.

The Career Fair at the NAB Show is April 9 from 10 am to 3 pm.  The Career Fair is at the Las Vegas Hotel and Casino, Pavilion,  3000 Paradise Road, Las Vegas.  (Self parking is free).  The Las Vegas Hotel is directly adjacent to the Las Vegas Convention Center and offers access to the Skywalk Bridge.

Pamela Kleibrink Thompson is a recruiter, hiring strategist, and career coach and speaks often on career issues at conferences and colleges.  You can reach her for recruiting or personalized career coaching at  Read more about Pamela here:

Pamela Kleibrink Thompson is an internationally-acclaimed recruiter, career coach and animation veteran (production manager on The Simpsons, ink and paint supervisor on Paramount's animated feature Bebe's Kids.) Pamela is a popular speaker at colleges, film festivals and entertainment industry conferences around the world.She has presented courses at SIGGRAPH in San Diego, Boston, and Los Angeles; was the commencement speaker at Art Institute of Tampa, and taught the Career Realities course at Gnomon School of Visual Effects.Pamela was named one of the Top Ten Recruiters by Animation Magazine and has worked with clients around the world such as Disney Feature Animation, Technicolor in Beijing, Framestore in London, and Lucas Animation in Singapore.She has written for over 80 publications including Computer Graphics, Animation Magazine, U.S. Art, Media History Digest, Apple Directions, Art Business News, Idaho Arts Quarterly, and Animation World Network.
Pamela Thompson
Broadcast Beat - Production Industry Resource