How To Work A Career Fair

Career fairs may seem daunting, but it’s worth your effort to go. You'll have the opportunity to meet with employers that you may not be able to access any other way, plus they often offer networking programs, resume reviews and workshops for job seekers. These tips will help you prepare and maximize your opportunities.

Before You Go

  • Identify what companies are attending and the positions for which they will be recruiting

  • Research the companies of interest as if you were preparing for an interview

  • Check out the company's website, mission, available positions, and any general information to demonstrate that you've done your research

  • Prepare a list of questions to ask the recruiter. Ask about industry trends, job openings, career paths and skills that the company has identified as important to them

  • Prepare and practice your 30 second pitch/tell me about yourself introduction. State whether you are looking for a job or internship, and tailor your pitch to the companies and positions you will target

  • Print free business cards to distribute with your resume. Search "Free student business cards" for online resources

  • Proofread your resume for grammar and spelling and print out 25+ copies to distribute to employers

  • Dress as if you are going to an interview! Wear conservative and appropriate clothes, and professional but comfortable shoes. Your appearance says a lot about you before you speak a word

  • Eliminate distractions- no perfume or cologne, don’t smell like smoke and turn off your cell phone

  • Carry a portfolio to hold your resume, business cards, prepared questions and a pen and paper for taking notes. Leave your backpack at home

During The Fair

  • Get to the fair early to scout the room, map your path to the companies of interest, and review the directory for any late entries. This will also give you time to relax and check your appearance

  • When you meet a recruiter smile, make eye contact, give a firm handshake and state your full name

  • Present your introduction/30 second pitch, tailor your questions and communication to the company, and try to connect personally but professionally with the recruiter

  • Before you walk away, say thank you for your time, leave a copy of your resume and business card. Take the recruiters business card and any company literature, and ask for next steps in the hiring process

  • Take notes for yourself and for your follow-up/thank you emails

  • Network and listen while you wait in line for a recruiter. Listen to the interactions of other students and recruiters. Don't stand around and chat with friends for too long

  • Speak with recruiters at various companies if you have time. It’s great practice and you may find something unexpected


  • Complete online applications for those companies that require/asked you to do so

  • Follow-up within 24hrs with a personalized thank you note by email

  • Remember, employers at career fairs have different agendas. Some are looking for employees, others may be promoting their company. Either way, they are great practice for interviews and give you the chance to evaluate companies for yourself

Be enthusiastic! It’s one of the most important personal attributes you can bring to a new position.

Employers want to see you smile. Even if you’re nervous, keep a positive attitude. You got this!