So, you’ve registered for the career fair, as you were required to do in order to attend the event that may possibly introduce you to your future employer. What’s next … just show up? No. Far from it. To get the most out of your participation in a career fair, consider the following:

  • Bring plenty of copies of your resume – By this time, you should have a resume prepared to present to employers. Nothing fancy, just a solid document that portrays who you are to employers. Avoid real heavy paper stock and presentation folders. Your resume should be able to stand on its own without the extra attention.
  • Come prepared – Review the online directory of employers and their job opportunities. If you spend a little time getting some background on an organization, then you can ask very focused and specific questions, not to mention demonstrate a genuine interest in the opportunity.
  • Dress appropriately – First impressions are important. While campus attire is acceptable for fairs, you will probably be most comfortable if you at least dress in business casual. However, you can’t go wrong with business professional attire.
  • Allow yourself adequate time – Come as early as possible. You may need to return between classes. Fairs tend to close promptly at publicized ending times to accommodate employers’ travel arrangements.
  • Get your bearings – When you arrive, take a few minutes to review the map and directory for the fair. You may want to walk by the employers in whom you’re most interested. This will confirm their location and alert you to any crowds or lines of other students waiting.
  • Prioritize the employers in which you are most interested in – You may find it advantageous to start with the employers in which you moderately interested. This will allow you to hone your approach and to be more confident upon approaching employers about whom you are especially excited to speak. Be sure you have sufficient time to take this approach.
  • Introduce yourself and be prepared to give your “elevator pitch” – Extend your hand, say “hello” and state your name. Have your resume ready to provide to the employer. Be ready to talk about your career interests as well as academic and extracurricular experiences to showcase your skills and strengths.
  • Ask the representative for his/her card – Having the business card of the representative with whom you have just spoken is a direct contact with the organization, including the proper spelling of the representative’s name, phone number, email, etc.
  • Respect employers’ materials/sample items – Some employers bring large quantities of print materials or “giveaways” clearly intended for student distribution. Other employers bring a few copies of print materials, sample products, etc. as displays at their tables. Always check with employers before taking materials from their tables and don’t take materials still packed in boxes.
  • Be courteous – In addition to representing yourself, you also represent your department and college. All of the organizations at the fair are there because of their interest in hiring your school’s students. Some representatives may be alumni. Demonstrate sensitivity to other students waiting to speak with employers by keeping your questions brief and offering to continue your conversation at a later time.