At Least One Month Before the Career Fair
Get Your Resume Ready
- Visit Career Services to learn about resumes and have yours professionally reviewed.
- Obtain a list of the companies participating in the career fair so you will know how many resumes to bring.
- Buy a quality portfolio to keep your resume straight and easy to retrieve.
Plan & Prioritize
- Review the list of participating employers for the career fair.
- Make a list of employers you definitely want to meet, and create a list of maybes in case you have extra time at the fair.
- Don’t pass up an employer because you already think you know what they’re looking for – you may miss out on an opportunity.
- Surf the Internet or visit Career Services to learn basic information on each company that interests you – find out what each company specifically needs.
- This research will help you know how to best sell your skills to each specific company.
Prepare Your 30-Second Commercial
Employers are busy at career fairs and need to evaluate you in a short amount of time. During your commercial accomplish the following:
- Introduce yourself by providing your name, major and university.
- Using the research you've done, explain your interest in the organization.
- Relate your history and skill set to the employer’s specific needs.
- Mention relevant experience you've had, such as internships, jobs, leadership experiences.
Practice your commercial numerous times. Try it out on a Career Services staff member.
Prepare to Answer & Ask Questions
- Recruiters at the fair will ask questions like the following:
- What kind of work are you looking for?
- What strengths and skills can you offer our company?
- Why do you want to work for our company?
- Prepare professional responses to these questions.
- Ask questions of the recruiter as well to impress them with your serious interest.
- Ask about specific job responsibilities.
- Ask how the position fits into the overall organization.
- Ask how you can learn about company openings and opportunities in the future.
At the Career Fair
Dress the Part
- You will be judged by the first impression you make – appearance counts!
- Dress professionally.
- Suits are suggested for both men and women.
- Be classic rather than trendy.
- Skirt suits are fine, but watch hemlines.
- Be conservative – go light on makeup, jewelry, funky hair and especially cologne or perfume.
- Wear professional, but comfortable shoes – you’ll be on your feet all day.
- Check in at the registration table and get a name tag.
- Obtain a list of participating employers and a map of the booths if possible.
- Take care of last-minute appearance touch-ups.
Take Advantage of All Employers
- Most students don’t make the most of career fairs because they visit too few employer tables.
- If an employer is not advertising an opening in your area, ask them for the name of someone in their company who works in the department or area in which you’re interested.
- Call or send a resume to this new contact.
- Long lines will abound, so make the most of your time and visit other employers while you wait for some lines to shorten.
- Keep in mind you will only be speaking with each employer for three to five minutes.
Approach Each Employer With Confidence
- Listen while you’re standing in lines – you can learn a lot about the company and available positions by listening to what is being said to people in front of you.
- As you approach the recruiter, make good eye contact, smile and give them a firm handshake.
- Introduce yourself with your 30-second commercial.
- Be professional at ALL times.
- Explain why you are interested in the company.
- Sell your skills and interests.
- Be enthusiastic about the company – SMILE.
- Focus on what you have to offer the company, not what they can do for you.
Take the Initiative
- Always ask for a business card so you can follow up.
- If the recruiter doesn't have a card, write down the correct spelling of his or her name, title, address, phone number and email address.
- Ask the recruiter the best way to follow up to learn about current opportunities.
- Take any available company literature and immediately make notes about the conversation you had with the recruiter.
After the Career Fair
Write a Follow-up Letter or Email
- Within three days, write a separate letter or email to each employer you visited, thanking them for their time – you’ll be sure to stand out because many students don’t take the time to do this.
- Written letters should be printed on quality stationary.
- Thank the recruiter for the information he or she provided (BONUS POINTS – use the notes you took to mention specific things you enjoyed speaking with them about).
- Restate your skills and qualifications and request an interview.
Be Persistent in Following Up With Employers
- Your resume will serve as a reminder of your qualifications, but don’t rely on the recruiter to contact you after the fair.
- Identify specific positions you would like to learn more about, and contact the employer by phone within two weeks of the fair.
- Initiative is impressive – it’s key to obtaining an offer from a career fair employer.
Career Fair Dos & Don’ts
- Be professional, enthusiastic and confident at ALL times. The person you meet in the bathroom may be a recruiter you see later in the day!
- Explore every company that catches your interest.
- Take breaks – you’ll need them!
- Make notes about each visit immediately after speaking with a recruiter.
- Focus on what you can bring to the company.
- Spend as much time as you need at the career fair – don’t rush.
- Immediately give your resume to an employer in lieu of introducing yourself.
- Chew gum.
- Expect the recruiter to control the conversation.
- Hang out with friends where employers can watch you.
- Ask about salary – let the recruiter bring it up.
- Bring friends or family to the fair with you.
- Hesitate to strike up conversations – recruiters are eager to meet you!