Preparation for any job fair is important. Employers have committed time, resources and staff to participate in the fair and they want to talk with students. To help ensure a positive job fair experience, the Career Development staff offer these suggestions:
Before the fair:
Prepare your resume. The Career Development staff can assist you by reviewing your resume and offering feedback.
- Print copies of your resume on quality resume paper. Bring them to the fair in a portfolio or other professional looking folder. However, be aware that some employers may not take your resume and will ask you to apply online.
- Review the list of employers participating in the fair. Identify employers you are interested in meeting and visit their websites to learn more about the company, organization or school. Be open to new experiences and opportunities you have not considered before.
- Prepare your “elevator speech” – a 15-20 second summary of your name, major, year of graduation, and career plans. Rehearse your speech and practice with a few people.
- Put together a list of questions you want to ask such as qualifications, hiring process, company locations, company mission and job expectations.
Dress professionally. Do not attend a fair in casual clothing even if you only want to pick up information or see what employers are participating in the fair. Your attire reflects your interest in the employer.
- Prepare questions based on your interest. If you’re seeking an internship or full-time job, consider questions about job opportunities, application timelines and processes, and skills and abilities that the employer desires. If you are exploring jobs and careers, consider questions about how you can best prepare for a career with a particular employer, the qualities of successful employees, and if there are opportunities for internships.
During the fair:
- Immediately demonstrate that you are interested in the employer. Approach the employer with a smile, a firm handshake, and good eye contact.
- Deliver your "elevator speech" and offer the recruiter your resume. Share why you are interested in the employer based on your prior research. Be prepared to share a short summary of your skills and experience.
- Be aware that some employers may not take your resume and will ask you to apply online. Do not get frustrated. Use the fair as an opportunity to make professional connections and gather useful information.
- Listen carefully to the employer. Ask questions to clarify information.
- Ask about the application process and ask for a business card.
- Gather key information about the employer and positions. Do not inquire about salary and benefits at this point.
- Be efficient and courteous as there will likely be other students waiting to talk with the employer.
After the fair:
- Send a thank you note or email to employers you are interested in or employers who spent time talking with you.
- Follow up on any commitments you made at the fair such as a phone call, email or completing an online application.
Job fair resources: