Job Fair Simulation

9, 10, 11, 12

Through the use of simulation, the students identify factors that facilitate finding employment. The students work cooperatively to problem solve, create personal resumes, and reflect on their experiences with a job fair and resume writing.

Lesson Rating 
PrintThree 50-Minute Class Periods, Plus time to carry out a service-learning project

The learner will:

  • research possible interview questions and effective resume characteristics.
  • role-play as employers and employees in a Job Fair simulation.
  • identify the emotional and logistical experience of unemployment.
  • reflect on factors that contribute to unemployment.
  • brainstorm ideas to improve their personal future employment endeavors.
  • reflect on the state of unemployment in their own community and brainstorm ways to address the issue.
  • Extension: compose a personal resume.
  • index cards, one per student (filled out before Day One)
  • copy of Handout One: Job Fair Role Play for each student
  • poster supplies: paper, markers, rulers, etc.
  • Internet access
  • tables and chairs for interview stations
  • copy of Handout Two: Resume Rubric for each student
Teacher Preparation 

Prior to Day One:

  • Examine the instructions for the job fair simulation located in the Materials section of the lesson. See Handout One: Job Fair Role Play. This handout describes the roles of the students in the job fair simulation. You assign these roles to the students by writing individual details on index cards and handing them out at the beginning of Day One.
  • Each student receives one index card. Half the students will be employees and half employers. On the index cards, write Employer or Employee at the top. Under the heading, write the employee role or employer organization. The students get most of their information from the handout, so it isn't necessary to copy all of the information on the cards.
  • Feel free to adapt the specific organizations and employee background information to suit your region and class size.

On the day of the job fair simulation, set up tables or stations for the employers, one for each organization represented. 


US Department of Labor: Bureau of Labor Statistics: Search for "Resume Writing"

Interview Questions

Job Interview Tutorial for High School Students

Job Application forms:


  1. Day One

    Anticipatory Set:

    As students enter the classroom, hand each student an index card with an assignment written on it (some will be employees and some employers). (See Teacher Preparation and Handout One: Job Fair Simulation for details.) Tell the learners to read their cards and compare responsibilities with other students for two or three minutes. Call the students back together and ask them if they have inferred what they are going to do based on the clues on the index cards. Introduce the job fair simulation activity.

  2. Tell the students that on a given date, they will have a job fair simulation in the classroom. They will role-play the roles you gave them at the beginning of class. In order to prepare for the simulation, they need to do some research. "Employees" will create a resume and prepare to answer questions. "Employers" will make posters advertising their positions and prepare interview questions in order to get the most appropriate employee for the one position they have available.

  3. Ask students to raise their hands if they have a job (in real life--not for the simulation). Have them share their experiences with finding employment. Ask students to share their prior knowledge about what employers want and what makes a good employee.

  4. Ask the students how they think this simulation might benefit them in their search for real employment.

  5. Tell the students their resumes, questions, and posters will be graded on quality of content, accuracy, and neatness. Their work should reflect the best work on behalf of the character they represent.

  6. Give each student a copy of Handout One: Job Fair Simulation. They will work with a partner, but each student is responsible for creating content to match their personal role. They follow the directions on the handout with their assignments in mind. They need computer access to research tips for resume writing and interview questioning.

  7. Provide construction or poster paper, markers, rulers, and other supplies to carry out their responsibilities.

  8. Set a due date for completion of resumes, posters, and interview questions so they are ready before the job fair simulation.

  9. Suggest to students that they dress for their roles on the day of the job fair simulation, if possible.

  10. Day Two

    Note: Prior to class, set up tables or stations, one for each of the employers of the simulation.

    Anticipatory Set:

    Place the following quote by Christopher Morley on the board: "Big shots are only little shots who keep shooting." Tell the students to write a reflection about this quote, explaining how the quote applies to the employees and employers in a job fair. Give them three minutes to write, then discuss as a class. Introduce the word perseverance if the students don't mention it. Tell the students that job hunting requires perseverance (sticking with something even when it is difficult or discouraging).

  11. Give the employers a few minutes to set up their interview station with the job advertisements and chairs for the interviews. Meanwhile, the employees can write down their three top companies they want to interview with. They may also review their resumes and interview answers.

  12. Each student should have a notebook to take notes during and aftert he interviews.

  13. Tell employees to go to the station of one of their top three job choices. Help the students find appropriate stations. Some students may not be matched with their top choices.

  14. Start a five-minute timer to begin the first round of interviews. At the end of five minutes, debrief, and have the employees and employers give one another a little feedback. The employer can give positive feedback about the quality of the resume, qualifications, and responses in the interview. The employee can give positive feedback about the clarity of the questions and the mannerisms that made the applicant comfortable.

  15. Tell employees to find another company on their top-three list. Start a five-minute timer to begin the second round of interviews, debrief, and repeat for a third round.

  16. Give the employers five minutes to select their first choice for an employee. They should be prepared to explain why they made their choice. Option: have the employers meet for a few minutes in another room to discuss their choices to make sure each student gets a job. At the end of five minutes, they will tell the class why they chose the employee, giving examples from their notes about what qualities made the job applicants attractive for the position.

  17. In the last five minutes of class, have the students write a reflection as a ticket to exit the classroom. In their reflection, they describe their feelings about the job interview process, either as an employee or an employer. Employee Reflection: What was going through your mind during the resume writing process and the interviews? What emotions did you experience throughout the process? How did you feel about the hiring results? Employer Reflection: What was going through your mind during the job advertisement process and the interviews? What emotions did you experience throughout the process? Describe your reasoning for the candidate that you chose. After having interviewed all possible candidates, was it an easy of difficult decision? Explain your answer.

  18. Day Three

    Anticipatory Set:

    Write the following words on papers posted around the room: frustrated, happy, competitive, overwhelmed, pressured, excited, challenged, thwarted. Tell the students to stand by the word that reflects their feelings in response to the following questions:

    1. Within your role as employer or employee, how did you initially feel about the challenge presented to you?
    2. Within your role, how did you feel when the simulation began?
    3. Within your role, how did you feel as the interviews began?
    4. Within your role, how did you feel at the end of the simulation?
    5. Within your role, how did you feel when you found out the results of the simulation?

    Choose different students throughout the questioning process to explain why they stood by the word they did.

  19. Ask the students to observe the variety of emotions experienced in the simulation with the class. Ask, "What does this tell us about the unemployment experience?"

  20. Discuss the level of unemployment in the area. Ask the students if they think they could help unemployed people in any way.

  21. Brainstorm ways to help the unemployment situation in the local community. This may include helping with resume writing or computer skills at the local library, with babysitting while parents go to interviews, or by boosting attitudes with a fun activity night. Choose a project to share time, talent, or treasure and take action for the common good.

  22. See previous lessons in this unit (see dropdown menu at the top of the lesson plan) for planning service-learning projects. In Lesson One, Handout Five: Action Plan and Handout Six: Planning a Service-Learning Project may be helpful resources.


Have students answer one of the following questions in essay format. They must answer in clear, concise sentences and use their experiences from the simulation to justify their answers. Lengths may vary according to level. Do you personally know of anyone that is experiencing the difficulties of finding employment? Explain. What do you think they are experiencing right now? How do you know? What could you do to support this person? In what ways do you think our community is experiencing difficulties in finding employment? What can we do to help with this issue?

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.IV Volunteering and Service
    1. Standard VS 01. Needs Assessment
      1. Benchmark HS.1 Identify a need in the school, local community, state, nation, or world.
      2. Benchmark HS.2 Research the need in the school, neighborhood, local community, state, nation, or world.
    2. Standard VS 02. Service and Learning
      1. Benchmark HS.1 Select a service project based on interests, abilities, and research.
    3. Standard VS 03. Providing Service
      1. Benchmark HS.1 Provide a needed service.