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Preparation for Career Fairs

Benefits of Attending Career Fairs

  • Increase your chances of receiving an interview with an Employer.
  • Expand your network of contacts and receive job search advice from experienced recruiters.
  • Investigate positions, occupations and/or career fields you could pursue with your specific major and background.
  • Learn more about Employers and available co-op, internship and career opportunities.

Before the Career Fair

  1. Target Your Top Five Companies- If possible, obtain a list of the Employers who will be attending the career fair, and select the top five organizations you would most like to visit. Make sure that at a minimum you research these organizations before you attend the career fair. (Refer to the “Researching an Employer” section of this guide for researching tips) The more you can show an employer that you know about their organization, the more likely you are to leave a positive impression.
  2. Prepare A Resume - A well-written, error free resume is a must. Make sure you have multiple copies of your resume and a list of references to distribute at the career fair. Refer to the “Your Resume section of your Career Guide for information on resume writing.
  3. Be Professional - Present a professional appearance and dress as if you were attending a job interview. If you are in doubt about what to wear at a Career Fair, refer to “What to Wear” in the “Interview Preparation” handout in the OCS.
  4. Sell Yourself - Be prepared to introduce yourself to each employer with your name, a firm handshake, a copy of your resume, and your objective. (Why are you attending a Career Fair and what type of career are you seeking?) Practice this introduction before the career
  5. Create Questions to Ask Employers - By asking meaningful questions to Employers you show that you have an interest in their company and that you have good listening and communication skills. Be sure to prepare a short list of questions to ask Employers. Refer to “Questions to “Ask An Interviewer” in the “Effective Interviewing” handout for a list of possible questions you may wish to ask.
  6. Arrive Early - In order to avoid long lines you should plan to arrive at Career Fairs early. You will spend less time waiting in lines and more time visiting with Employers.

During the Career Fair

Use Your Time Wisely
Survey the room to determine where Employers are located and in what order you plan to visit them. If there is along line to speak with one of your ”chosen” companies, keep moving and return later. Your goal should be to make contact with as many Employers as possible.

Be Confident
Project enthusiasm, confidence and sincerity. Smile, walk confidently with good posture and make consistent, direct eye contact.

Introduce Yourself
When it is your turn to speak with an Employer, greet him/her with a firm handshake, a copy of your resume and a brief summary of why you are attending the career fair and/or the type of career you are seeking. When appropriate, be sure to ask one or more of the questions that you prepared.

Prepare for Follow-Up
Thank the employer for his/her time, and be sure to leave a copy of your resume. Ask the employer for a business card or company literature for the follow-up protocol. If the Employer says they do not have a position in your field, ask for the address of the Human Resources Department so you can write a letter and send your resume. Nearly all Employers hire all majors. The person you are speaking with may not be aware of all opportunities offered by the company. As soon as you walk away, jot down a few notes about your conversation so you will have a few memorable points to mention in your follow-up letter.

After the Career Fair

Say Thank You
Send thank you letters to Employers you met within a week of the Fair. This shows the Employer that you have a genuine interest in their organization and position and may give you a competitive edge over those candidates that do not follow-up. Review the “Cover Letters” section of the handout in OCS on constructing thank you letters.

Be Persistent
If you have observed the follow-up protocols as outlined by the Employer, it is appropriate to send a letter inquiring abut the status of you application after a reasonable amount of time has passed