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.

Research Employers

  • 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.

Arrive Early

  • 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!