How to Work a Career FairPosted: May 5, 2014
Before a Career Fair
• Target Your Top Companies/Organizations. Take this list and plan your strategy for which companies you would like to talk to
• Research the organizations in which you are most interested.
• Prepare a resume that is well-written and error free! Make sure you have multiple copies of both your resume and list of references on hand.
• Create a list of questions you want to ask employers.
• Prepare to answer questions because employers will be asking them! You will be expected to think on your feet, so be prepared to answer their questions.
• Brush up your personal appearance. At least a week before the career fair, get a haircut and make sure your suit is appropriate, fits, and is clean.
• Arrive early to avoid long lines and catch all employers as some will leave before the career fair has ended. As you arrive, be polite to people in the parking lot, hallway, or restroom – pretty much anyone could be a recruiter.
During a Career Fair
• Approach employers with a firm handshake and introduce yourself.
• Prepare how you will introduce yourself through a 30 second commercial or “Elevator Speech”. (look on 2nd page for details)
• During your conversation, ask inquisitive questions about the organization and available positions. Some questions you may want to ask include:
o What skills do you look for in candidates?
o What type of previous work experiences do you look for in candidates?
o What is the best way to apply to your organization, and how long does the process usually take?
o Will you be on campus to interview or host other events?
o Sample questions employer may ask you
Questions they could ask you
o Tell me about yourself.
o What kind of position are you looking for?
o What geographic areas are you interested in?
o Why did you stop at our table today?
o May I have a copy of your resume?
• At the conclusion of your conversation, hand your résumé to the employer and ask for his/her business card.
After a Career Fair
• Send a thank-you note or e-mail to employers who were of particular interest to you. Employers may leave a fair with hundreds of resumes, and they report that less than 5% of students follow up after a fair. This simple step can give you a big advantage.
• If there were employers you did not have the opportunity to connect with, send them a message articulating your interest and regret that you did not meet them at the event.
Career Fair Checklist
• Pen and Notebook
• At least a dozen resumes
• Small breath mints—no gum!
• A positive attitude
Preparing Elevator Speech
• Learn to sell yourself by creating a 60 second elevator pitch, and make sure you practice it! Your speech should include the following:
1. Introduction: Introduce yourself, offer a firm hand shake and a resume.
2. Objective: Tell the employer why you are there and what sort of employment you seek.
3. Summary: Briefly summarize education, experience, strengths, etc.
4. Closing: Reiterate your interest and thank the employer.
• Here are some topics you might cover in an elevator pitch:
1. Who am I? What do I offer? What field or industry am I interested in? (Identify yourself in terms of a job function or contribution.)
2. What need or issue does the employer face and what problem can be solved?
3. What are the main contributions I can make? What benefits can employers derive from my skills, based on my proven accomplishments?
4. End with a question to invoke further conversation: What do you think about…? How can I get a spot on your interview schedule? Can we set a phone appointment to discuss the issue of…? Can I send you my resume?