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How to Maximize Attending a College Career Fair

Whether you are a freshman looking to gain internship experience or a graduating senior trying to figure out your next step, attending a career fair might be the answer you’ve been looking for. Businesses attend career fairs to meet potential employees and to share information about their organization and opportunities for employment. Fairs provide an excellent venue for job seekers—employers wouldn't send representatives if they weren't interested in new staff members. Follow the tips below to get the most that you can from attending a career fair:

Before the Fair

  1. Prepare for the fair by reviewing all the organizations that will be attending and select those that appeal most to you. Prioritize your list. 
  2. Write a short "self-pitch" to introduce yourself to company representatives. It should include:
    1. Your name, major, and year in school
    2. Why you are interested in this organization
    3. The qualities/experience you have that are relevant to the organization 
    4. How you would like to proceed
  3. Be ready for a longer interview should the representative want to get to know you better. Be prepared to expand upon what it is about the company that appeals to you and how you envision your contribution to its success. Be prepared to discuss your qualifications as an employee and the experiences you've had that would be an asset to the company. You can talk about your travels, your service projects, prior work opportunities, and your studies. 
  4. Be ready to ask questions about the organization and possible opportunities within it. 

During the Fair

  1. Wear a professional outfit that is clean and tidy, along with appropriate footwear.
  2. Pack more resumes than you will likely need and an easily accessible tablet or notebook to record names and contact information of the individuals you meet.
  3. Shake hands with representatives when you approach them and smile. Show that you are confident and warm.
  4. Listen. You are there to obtain information and make connections as well as sell yourself. Feel free to take notes about specific projects, organizational goals, or individuals you might seek out. Be mindful of the time, and allow others to have conversations with the representatives too.
  5. When your conversation with a representative is over, thank them for their time and interest and ask for a business card if you have not done so. 
  6. Make an effort to meet other attendees. You can share tips about different companies and opportunities with one another and agree to network after the event.

After the Fair

  1. Follow up with recruiters after the event via email or LinkedIn. Thank them for speaking with you, let them know if you applied to any openings, or simply ask for more information about the hiring process. Whichever prompt you choose, just be sure to reach out in a timely fashion.
  2. Make a list of follow-up activities, either with the people you met or with their associates. 
  3. Mark your calendar for when to engage in that follow-up.
  4. Reach out to other attendees that you met. Remind them of your career goals and let them know that you will be in touch should you learn of companies or opportunities that might interest them.