General Tips for Preparing and Navigating Career Fairs

BEFORE

Research the Organizations

To get an understanding of the employers you find interesting, use resources such as:

Update Your Résumé

Depending on the type of career fair, tailor the résumé to show focus in that industry by highlighting relevant courses and experiences that best showcase transferrable skills.  Bring 15-20 copies with you at the fair, preferably on résumé paper. You can find more résumé tips here

Prepare Your Introduction (aka Elevator Pitch)

Practice how you will spend the 1-2 minutes you will have alone with a recruiter. Let them know who you are and what you want. Include your name, class year, major, career interests, and why you are interested in them.

Plan Your Professional Outfit (required)

Includes: dress slacks, knee-length skirts, blouses, collared shirts, suit jackets, dress shoes, etc.

Plan Your Time

Some employers will have long lines of students waiting to speak with them. Prioritize who to see before you attend so you can maximize your time there.

Additional Career Fair Pointers

You can find additional career fair pointers here.

DURING

Ditch Your Backpack

Find the designated areas for bags and jackets and leave your non-essentials behind.

Approaching the Recruiters

Make eye contact, have a firm but not crushing handshake, and launch into your introduction.  Be sure to pause so the exchange is more of a discussion/conversation vs. a monologue.  Listen intently to their response and follow up with some selected questions. 

AFTER

Follow Up

Be sure to send an email or letter to the recruiter expressing your interest in the position or organization and how your background and skills will contribute to their organization.

SAMPLE QUESTIONS TO ASK RECRUITERS

It is ideal to research organizations first and then ask tailored questions. Use these as a starting point for thinking about what you want to learn about employers. Be sure to review the handouts that you receive upon arriving at the event to help guide your conversation.

All Industries

  1. What are the entry-level career opportunities for bachelor’s (or master’s) candidates with your organization? What does your organization look for in new hires?
  2. What kinds of summer experiences do you offer?
  3. How important is graduate school for advancement in this field?
  4. What training opportunities are there for employees? Are there opportunities for cross-functional training? What about opportunities for professional development?
  5. What opportunities are there for interacting with other new recruits?
  6. Is there a mentoring program?          
  7. How is this organization managing diversity in the workplace?
  8. How often are employees expected to relocate?
  9. How would you describe the culture of the organization?
  10. What do you like most about working at your organization?
  11. How do I best follow up with you? 
  12. What are some of your current challenges as an organization in INDUSTRY?

Social Impact Sectors: Industry-Specific Questions

  1. How does the organization identify communities or individuals to work with? How have they worked to build trust and relationships in the field?
  2. Would you describe some of your current campaigns or projects?
  3. How is the organization’s impact measured? Who is responsible for determining impact and evaluating results?
  4. What is the long-term strategy of the organization? Is there a five- or ten-year plan?