Timeline: Fall and Spring
Career fairs provide an opportunity to explore careers, obtain employer information and develop contacts to use in applying for full-time, internship, and summer positions. Employers attend career fairs to increase student awareness about their organization and the careers they offer, to identify potential candidates for future hiring needs, and to fill positions they may currently have available.
Making the Most of a Career Fair
Before the Fair
- Clarify your interests and goals; you may want to speak with a career advisor.
- Review the list of employers expected to attend the career fair (and research those that interest you), to learn all you can about how you might fit into their organization.
- Have a strategy. Prepare a list of the top 5-10 employers you want to meet, and be sure to see them first.
- Prepare a resume that will be relevant to the particular employers you plan to see at the fair, and bring several copies. You may also want to prepare a "generic" resume that can be used for other employers.
- Prepare a pitch or elevator speech about yourself that will briefly, but enthusiastically, show your strengths, skills, experience, and interest.
Attire and What to Bring
- A business suit is preferred. If you don't have one, utilize the "Dress to Impress" Program if you need to borrow a suit from the Career Center. It's free!
- Another alternative to a suit is to wear dark pants and a button down shirt or sweater.
- Don't wear: Jeans, gym clothes, t-shirts, hats, sandals, etc.
- Bring at least 5 resumes, if not more. You will want enough to hand out to any employers you talk to.
- A pen and paper to jot down notes about who you spoke with, recruiter names, and other information to remember.
- A portfolio or "padfolio" to keep resumes in, and to collect business cards.
During the Fair
- Build a relationship with recruiters by smiling, offering a firm handshake, and making eye contact!
- Use your Elevator Speech or Personal Pitch.
- Gather information from each employer that you speak with, including a business card if possible.
- Show that you're enthusiastic and knowledgeable by asking questions about the particular organization and its opportunities.
- Take notes after each conversation.
After the Fair
- Send thank-you notes (or emails) to the recruiters you met at the fair within 48 hours. This is a great opportunity to thank them for their time, and express further interest in the company.
- Keep your notes and contact information from the fair organized.
- Follow up with each recruiter you met at the fair within 2-3 weeks. This is a chance to showcase continued interest in jobs or internships you applied for.