Career Fair Preparation

Career fairs or expos are an opportunity for recruiters for companies to get face time with potential applicants. In turn they are a great way for students/alumni to find out what is happening in their industry and learn about companies that they may not be familiar with.

What to expect:

Depending on the event that you are attending career fairs can be specific to your industry or broad with many industries and companies in attendance. Don’t be afraid to talk to employers that may not be hiring for your specific major or position. Often when speaking with potential employers you are selling a skill set that you have and your background and education can be suited for a variety of positions.

  • Layout
    • Typically career fairs take place in larger open floor plan facilities and there are tables or booths designated for each employer.
    • Each booth may have anywhere between 1- 5 recruiters depending on the company’s size and the positions they are recruiting for
      • With that in mind, you may need to wait in line to speak with an employer so be sure to schedule enough time for yourself to attend the event
    • Water stations can be found at most career fairs so you may not need to bring a water bottle with you that could occupy your hands

How to prepare:

  • What to wear:
    • This is often your first impression with many of these employers/recruiters so it is important to dress the part
    • Business casual and business professional are most commonly seen at career fairs.
  • Have a game plan:
    • Check out who is attending the fair and make a list of employers you would like to talk to
    • Build up your confidence by waiting until you have spoken with a few other employers before you talk to your favorite company
    • Take notes – after you chat with an employer write down information that you learned about the company this will help you follow up with employers later on and assist you in answering interview questions such as Why are you interested in our company? What do you know about our organization? 
  • Be sure to research employers:
    • Look into the companies you plan to talk to at the fair
  • Practice introducing yourself:
    • Make eye contact, smile and use a nice firm handshake
    • Be friendly and conversational
    • Share information such as your name, what your studying, when you graduating, what you hope to do in the future, why you are interested in this company
    • Ask the employer a question about their company, positions, projects, etc.
  • What to bring:
    • Bring extra copies of your resume
    • Keep your resumes in a nice folder or pad-folio that you can hold information that employers may hand out
    • If you have a portfolio or samples of your work you could bring a one page hand out to give to employers
  • What not to bring:
  • Don’t forget to follow-up

How the Career and Advising Center can help:

  • Preparation events
    • Pitch Perfect
      • Check out this event to practice your elevator pitch with real employers and receive on the spot feedback
    • Suit Up!
      • Take advantage of this partnership with JC Penny’s to get steep discounts on professional attire prior to the Career Expos
      • Check out our events tab for more information, about this event and when the next one will be taking place
  • Career Studio
    • Drop by the Career Studio in Ceres Hall 306 to practice your elevator pitch, to make a game plan for the fair, for help with your resume
    • Career Closet