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How to Prepare for a Career Fair

Career Fairs are an excellent way to meet a large number of potential employers at one time. Career Fair attendance is useful because it gives you an opportunity to network, pass out copies of your resumé, and improve your communication and interview skills.

Career Fair Tips

  1. Research companies – Do your homework. Visit the Career Development Career Fair website for a list of participants to find out in advance who will be attending the Fair. Visit the organization’s web sites or read current business articles to learn more about their products, services, missions and organizational structure. This will enable you to ask better questions of the company representatives
  2. Prepare your resumé – Bring several copies of your resumé (however some employers may request that you apply on-line). Have your resumé reviewed prior to the Career Fair. Bring a professional-looking binder or portfolio in which you can easily access a pen, notepad, your resumés and questions you may wish to ask.
  3. Present a professional appearance – Being dressed in professional-looking clothes helps to make a great impression. Ensure that you and your clothes are clean but avoid perfume, cologne or strong scents. Be friendly, smile, and be respectful to employers as well as other job seekers. Employers might be observing you to determine if you are professional and can potentially represent their organization.
  4. Check your attitude – Be optimistic, but have realistic expectations. You will meet employers who are interested in hiring in your field. There may not be immediate vacancies, but when openings occur, the employer will think of you because of your first impression.
  5. Practice Your Introduction – Is your handshake a “floppy fish” or a bone-crunching experience? Practice your handshake. Rehearse a brief introduction. Be able to tell the employer about your immediate career goals.
  6. Have strategies – Make an “A” list (favorites/must meet) and a “B” list (nice to meet – if time permits). Go to a few “B” list employers first to practice your introduction and questions. Then you’ll be warmed up and feel more confident when you will meet your “A” list recruiters.
  7. Avoid long lines – Don’t stand in long lines. Check out the companies without a lot of people lined up. Try to meet the recruiters during down times (especially in the morning or lunch time). You’ll get more of their attention and be able to learn more about the company and hiring opportunities.
  8. Gather information – Request a business card from each employer or ask for their name and title. Pick-up all company literature so you can review it after the fair.
  9. Follow up – Follow up within a week with a letter to each employer that you met. Include the date and time you met, a review of one or two of your primary qualifications with a reference to your knowledge of the company and a request a formal interview.

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