Preparing for a Career Fair

The job search process for college students can often be confusing and tiresome. Luckily, many colleges and universities try to make the process a bit easier by bringing employers to their schools.  Career fairs allow students to meet companies, ask questions, and build their network.  With such a great opportunity it is important that each student is prepared and knows what is expected at a career fair.

The preparation for a career fair is a simple process but one that cannot be overlooked. For the best results and connections at the job fair some time and effort are necessary.

  • Supplies:  There are a couple of items which will be very useful at the career fair.  Perhaps the most important is your resume.  Before attending the career fair make sure that you have revised and updated your resume.  It might even be a good idea to have someone else look over it. The Career Counselors and the Career Center Assistants are always available to look at a resume. Make sure that you bring several copies to the Career Fair as it is likely more than one company will request one.  This brings up the next necessity, a list of employers attending the career fair.  This list is typically sent out the week before the fair. It will include the company name, who from the company is representing them at the fair, contact information, and sometimes a brief description of what the company does.  It is essential to research this list ahead of time so you know what places you need to stop by at the fair.  When talking with employers it is likely that they will also be handing you paperwork or business cards; having a folder or even better a portfolio is useful for handling these pieces of information.
  • Prep work:  In the days leading up to the career fair there are several things you can accomplish to make sure that you are fully prepared. Once you have access to the employer list, do your research!  Pinpoint the companies that interest you and find out more information.  This will help you look well informed on the day of the fair and also help you identify any questions you still may have.  Questions are another important part of your preparation.  The companies want you to ask questions so make sure you have a couple for each place you plan to stop at. While deciding where you want to go, make sure you take into consideration that amount of time you have available to you.  It will not be useful to you or the employers if you have to rush from booth to booth. Lastly, practice your introduction. How are you going to approach a booth?  What will your greeting be? In what ways can you try to emphasize your skills?  This takes practice as you want to make your best impression.
  • The day of the Career Fair:  All of your preparations have been leading to this. It is time to show the employers why you would be a great employee.  When attending a career fair it is always a good idea to dress as professionally as you can.  This will not only help create the positive impression you are looking for, but will also help you to get in the correct mindset.  Treat everyone you meet at the fair with respect, professionalism, and politeness. Use all of the techniques you have been practicing and start to make those connections!
  • After the Career Fair:  Following the fair it is important to follow-up with every person that you talked to. This can be to simply say thank you for speaking with me or to ask additional questions.  Either way you will stand out and will be on your way to establishing more of a relationship with that employer, which could lead to a career!

For more information on the Spring Career Fair on Thursday March 7th please stop by the Career Center on the second floor of the Union.