How to Prepare for a Career Fair

What should I do before a Career Fair?

Decide why you are going to the Fair!

  • Some people go just to pick up literature about employers and see what jobs are "out there."
  • Others will go with the intent of trying to get interviews for internships or full- or part-time employment.
  • Both reasons are fine, but this is a great opportunity to begin to make contacts, so the more seriously you treat this event, the better!
  • No matter why you are attending the Fair, please dress professionally! First impressions are often lasting impressions.

Do your Research!

  • Find out which firms will be there and consider whom you want to meet.    
  • Plan to visit the companies you are really interested in first. Budget your time-don't spend all your time with the first employer
  • Be certain to have gone to the websites of all the firms that interest you. Knowledge is Power!
  • Write down the specific questions you have for different employers.

Get ready for these "career conversations"!

Prepare your introduction:

  • The Fair will consist of a series of employer tables with representatives waiting to talk to you. Prepare a 30-second introduction of yourself that you can use when you greet the employer.
  • Tell them your name, your year and major and what you are interested in (job, internship, or just to learn more about them). Something like…"Hi, I’m Sally Student  and I’m a senior English major. I’m in the process of looking for employment after graduation in ________ field and your organization interested me. Can you please tell me something about what is available?

Have general questions ready such as:

  • What types of positions will you have open?
  • What kind of training programs do you have?
  • How long do people typically stay in entry positions?
  • What is a typical career path for graduates in my field?
  • What further education might I need?
  • What are the major trends in your industry today?

Have your resume(s) ready:

  • Be sure to prepare your resume and if you are interested in several career fields, you will need different versions of your resume targeted to each of these career fields.
  • You might also have business cards made up with your name, address and phone numbers, degree and major on one side and your career goal on the other side. (Office supply stores carry a package of printable card stock.)

On the day of the Career Fair:

First things first:

  • Get there early while employers are fresh and have supplies
  • Dress professionally and wear shoes that don't hurt! See our Powerpoint on Dressing for Success
  • Walk around and orient yourself to the layout of the room
  •  Locate the four or five key employers you want to be sure to speak with

Be prepared by bringing:

  • Portfolio
  • Resumes
  • Business cards (optional, but smart)
  • The list of employers you want to meet
  • Necessities like tissues, breath mints, etc.
  • Pens and pencils

While speaking to employers:

  • Don't eat, drink, or carry food around when you're talking with employers
  • Be organized--avoid searching through your papers for your resume or pen
  • "Sell" your skills. Be enthusiastic and knowledgeable, about both yourself and the company
  • Be certain to get a business card and a brochure from each employer
  • Don't crowd the employer
  • Don’t grab the "freebies" until after your conversation
  • Ask open-ended questions, avoid salary questions               
  • Ask how the employer would like you to follow-up
  • Thank the recruiter by name

After the Fair:

  • Send thank you notes to those employers that sincerely interested you.
  • In the note (which might be sent to someone other than the person you met at the Fair), mention meeting their representative at the Career Fair.
  • File away the literature you have collected. It can be helpful later.
  • Save copies of any applications or correspondance you are sending to the employers you have met.
  • Consider your own performance and think about what you can improve for the next fair you attend.

Watch our powerpoint presentation, "Making the Most of a Career Fair"