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.

How to Register:

  • Students do not need to register for the in-person Career Expo, but they should bring their student IDs to check-in at the event.
  • Students interested in meeting with employers during our Virtual Career Fair should sign up for times to meet with employers in Handshake. Meeting times fill up quickly, so be sure to sign up early! Please view this video for assistance.

What is a Virtual Career Fair:

  • What is a career fair?
    • A career fair is a chance for students to speak to employers about their companies, positions they have available, and to learn more about the industry or the types of roles within a company.
    • What do students get out of it?
      • Many NDSU students attend career fairs seeking part-time employment, internships, and full-time jobs following their graduation.  Employers and students alike comment on how nice it is to get to talk to someone in real-time rather than cold calling companies or sending emails to general company email addresses and awaiting a reply.
  • How do these happen virtually?
    • This Fall’s virtual career fairs will still offer students the same great opportunity to connect with many employers in a short amount of time, but with a virtual career fair you get to schedule a time to meet with one employer or as many as your schedule will allow!  Learn more in our “How To” video on virtual fair registration.
    • Since students get to register for a select time to meet with employers and recruiters, there’s no need to stand in line or spend time just trying to find employers of interest in a sea of people.  This way, students get to research attending employers, determine which company or companies they would like to talk to, and establish a schedule of meetings far in advance and one that is most convenient for them.

How to Prepare:

  1. Once registered, research the employer(s).
    • Look at the company’s mission statement or vision to determine how your career goals may align with them. This will also help you develop your elevator pitch and the questions that you will ask when chatting with them during the fair.
    • Utilize Handshake to research the employer.  Look at the “Employers” tab to look up positions they currently have posted or those that they have posted and filled with NDSU students in the past.
    • Go to the company’s social media or LinkedIn page to learn more about the company and their hiring history.
  1. Tailor your documents.
    • Did you know that, ideally, you would have a resume and cover letter that is tailored to the specific needs of the company and position that you are applying to?  Watch this video for more information on how to tailor your resume, or view our online resources for creating a resume or cover letter.
    • For a review or feedback on your resumes or cover letters, submit them online, drop in to our online Career and Advising Center via Zoom and our Career Studio in Ceres Hall 306, or email us at to schedule an appointment with a staff member for a 1-on-1 appointment in person, over the phone, or  via video call.
    • Once the documents are ready to go, upload them into Handshake and attach them to your Virtual Career Fair registration(s).
  1. Determine which online system or platform that the employer will be using and test it out ahead of time on the device and in the location that you will be using “day of” the fair.
    • How do know what system the employer is using?
      • When you register for a meeting with an employer during the virtual career fairs, each employer should have indicated the type of system that they will be using for the interaction in the “location” field.  Note:  Employers will be using different systems (Zoom, Webex, Microsoft Teams, etc.) so plan accordingly.
    • Test out the systems ahead of time with the Career and Advising Center Team:
      • Join us in our online Career and Advising Center, Monday through Friday from 10 am – 4 pm, and we can help you get set up in the system the employer has chosen and even help you practice interacting in that platform.
  1. Get organized before the fair.
    • Especially if you have multiple registrations for the fairs, it will be important to get and stay organized.   Utilize calendars, set reminders/alerts, and whatever it is you need to do to ensure you have adequately prepared ahead of time and are keeping track of your “day of” the fairs schedule.
  1. Develop your pitch and the questions you will ask of the employer.
    • Plan ahead for what you would like to say to the employer and how you would like to introduce yourself in your elevator pitch.
    • Employers like when you ask questions about them, their jobs, and the company.  Be sure to do your research ahead of time and don’t ask questions to which you could find the answers to yourself by searching online.
  1. Plan for what you will wear.
    • Although you may be tuning into the fair from your living room couch, try not to look like it!  Plan to dress for the occasion and “one-level up” from what you would be expected to wear in the day to day work environment at that job/company.  For example, if they wear polo shirts and jeans every day, plan to wear a nicer blouse or button up shirt and dress pants or khakis.
    • Looking for something to wear?  The Career and Advising Center has the Career Closet where you can check out and borrow business casual and business professional clothing to ensure you are dressed to impress for the fairs!

During the Fairs:

  •  Here is a checklist to help ensure you are prepared to present your best self at the fairs!


  1. Send a “Thank You”:
    • Send a ‘thank you’ to each employer that you chatted with during the career fairs.  You can do this via handwritten letter or via email.
  1. Apply!
    • Apply for any positions as recommended by the recruiter(s) you chatted with during the fairs.  Be sure to keep notes on which positions were specifically mentioned, what method they recommend that you apply, and so forth.  This is an opportunity to demonstrate your communication and attention to detail abilities!