When applying for a job, employers will expect that you include a cover letter along with your resume and application. However, if you will be speaking with potential employers face-to-face at a job fair, the rules are different, and it may not be necessary for your to bring a cover letter.
Job Fair Portfolio
College Grad recommends that you bring a portfolio with a resume and letters of recommendation to a job fair, along with paper and pens to take notes as you chat with potential employers. According to College Grad, you should not bring a cover letter as "you are the cover letter to your resume."
While you may not bring a cover letter to a job fair, you will still need to be prepared to present the information in person that you would in a cover letter. Cover letters are typically used to introduce yourself and explain to an employer why your skills and experience make you the best candidate for a job, so rather than do so in a letter, you will do so verbally.
Prepare for your introduction by writing the information you would include in a cover letter on a set of notecards that you can refer to before introducing yourself to an employer. Include your major, degree level and school, as well as the most relevant job experience. Because cover letters should also indicate you have researched the company, include notes or facts about the employer to show that you are particularly interested in his business.
According to the University of Buffalo, while cover letters are not expected at a job fair, bringing one can be " great way to stand out in the crowd." However, they advise you customize cover letters for each company you are interested in rather than bringing one generic cover letter.
Kara Page has been a freelance writer and editor since 2007. She maintains several blogs on travel, music, food and more. She is also a contributing writer for Suite101 and has articles published on eHow and Answerbag. Page holds a Bachelor of Music Education degree from the University of North Texas.