How to Prepare for a Career Fair

Career fairs can be great; in fact, they can be the most effective use of a student’s time to achieve success in an internship or job search.  Most students, though, do not take advantage of such opportunities for a number of reasons including fear, which is oftentimes the biggest obstacle.  Other reasons that students hesitate to participate in career fairs include nervousness about the prospect of having the think on their feet in front of recruiters and having to juggle a busy schedule of classes, school work and searching for an internship or full-time job.  From our perspective in the Career Services Center, it is best not to leave a career fairs to chance but instead to place yourself ahead of the competition by reviewing the timeline below. 

 

What to do BEFORE a Career Fair

  • Prepare  a “30 second spot” introduction, which includes discussing: who you are, what you are currently doing and why you are interested in talking with them
  • Research the companies who will be attending
  • Generate a list of questions you would like answered
  • Dress to impress and research what is appropriate for your industry.  If you are unsure contact Career Services or take a look at this page (Dressing for an Interview)
  • Have your resume reviewed by a Career Services staff member
  • Strategize the time you spend at the event -- who do you plan to speak with and when?
  • Prepare answers to questions about your resume and skills
  • Practice offering a strong, confident handshake
  • Make any travel arrangements or map-out where you will be going if unfamiliar

What to do DURING a Career Fair

  • Pick up any floor map or directions to company locations
  • Approach the recruiter of the companies you have targeted
  • Introduce yourself utilizing the “30 second spot” and shake hands
  • During the conversation,  highlight any skills or experience you have had that relate to what they may be looking for
  • Communicate any current events you've researched regarding the company through the conversation
  • Watch your conversation length ensuring your don't take up too much of their time
  • Offer the recruiter a copy of your resume
  • Ask the recruiter for a business card and inquire about the appropriate way to follow up
  • Make a quick note regarding the conversation you had on the back of the business card

What to do AFTER a Career Fair

  • Track who you talked to and about what and make plans to follow up with each
  • Send thank you notes within 24 hours