Career Fair Tips

Navigating a Career Fair (In-person)

A career fair is an event that gives students and recent alumni a chance to meet with potential employers, establish professional relationships, and discuss opportunities such as internships, co-ops and full-time employment. Review the tips below to learn how to navigate an in-person career fair.

1. Register for the career fair on Handshake.

Registering for the in-person career fair is a great way to preview the employers that will be attending the fair.
Pro Tip: By registering for the career fair it will receive an email confirmation that can serve as a reminder.

2. Research the company.

You will be able to review the list of companies attending the in-person career fair in Handshake. This provides you the opportunity to review the positions and skills companies are seeking in candidates. You can use this information to tailor your resume and develop questions to ask the recruiter. Make sure to review the company’s website to learn about their mission statement, values/pillars, and new developments. This information can help you create questions to ask during the in-person career fair.
Pro Tip: Use your research to plan out the companies you would like to connect with during the in-person career fair.

3. Update your resume and practice your elevator pitch.

Attend a drop-in session, schedule an appointment with a career coach, or attend the resume drive to get your resume and/or elevator pitch critiqued. Resume guidelines can be found in the Resource section on Handshake. Use the research you conducted to tailor your resume for the positions you will be applying to later. Next, develop an elevator pitch using some of the information from your resume. Then, practice the elevator pitch in a mirror, with a friend, or a career coach. Examples of elevator pitches can be found on YouTube.
Pro Tip: Make a few copies of your resume to pass out to recruiters during the in-person career fair. OCS has resume paper you can use to print your resume on. (Resume paper is available while supplies last.)

4. Plan your attire.

Research examples of business professional attire to wear to the in-person career fair. Business professional typically means a suit. However, the research you conduct on examples can assist you with putting together an outfit before the in-person career fair. OCS partners with JCPenney to provide students with a 30% coupon for attire. Also, the Aggie Rack on campus has attire for students.
Pro Tip: Try on your suit before the in-person career fair for fit. If needed, take your suit to a tailor for alterations.

5. Set a reminder for the career fair.

Set a reminder or an alert on your phone for the day and time of the in-person career fair. Remember to include the location of the career fair. If you have class during the time of the career fair tell your professor in advance that you would like to attend. Plan to give yourself at least one to two hours to attend the in-person career fair.

1. Arrive ready to connect with recruiters.

The in-person career fair starts at 9:00 am. While you do not have to show at up exactly 9:00 am it is better to arrive earlier in the day rather than later in the day.
Pro Tip: Cannot stay the whole time. You are more than welcome to come back to the career fair at any point while it is still happening.

2. Have all of your materials ready.

You had your resume reviewed. You practiced your elevator pitch. Your attire is on point. Make sure you have a portfolio to keep copies of your resume as well as a pen and notepad to take notes when speaking with recruiters. You may have the opportunity to participate in a next-day interview so having your materials ready is vital.
Pro Tip: Put your phone on silent or airplane mode. You do not want your phone to ring during a conversation with a recruiter.


3. Speak with recruiters and take notes. 

Remember when you reviewed the company’s website. Use that information to ask questions when going up to the company’s table. During this time you will have the opportunity to have a brief conversation with the recruiter about the position and your skills. Remember your elevator pitch and highlight your skills and accomplishments. Take notes about what they tell you about the company and position. Exchange email addresses so you can easily follow up with the recruiter. There may be a line to speak with recruiters have patience and wait, the line will move before you know it.
Pro Tip: Keep conversations to 10-15 minutes. By exchanging email addresses you can continue to communicate with the recruiter after the career fair.


4. Speak with confidence.

Be polite. Start each conversation with “Hello, my name is Aggie. It’s nice to meet you today.” instead of launching into “What positions are you recruiting your for?” or “What does your company do?” (Although you should already know this because you did your research beforehand). When talking smile and maintain eye contact. While waiting to speak with a recruiter review your resume and questions.
Pro Tip: Take a lap around the career fair before speaking with recruiters to see the layout and all the companies in attendance. Plus it may help if you are feeling a little nervous.


5. Have questions.

Still have questions about the in-person career fair. Speak with an OCS staff member. We will be at the career fair and will be happy to help you.
Pro Tip: Schedule an appointment to speak with a career coach before the career fair if you have questions or need assistance.

1. Take a deep breath.

You did it! You attended the in-person career fair. Gather all of your swag items you received at the career fair and the notes you took. Review your notes and highlight any information that stands out to you.
Pro Tip: Create a list of the companies and recruiters you spoke with at the career fair to stay organized.

2. Apply for opportunities and attend events.

Apply online for the internships, co-ops, and jobs you are interested in after attending the career fair. Some companies will offer workshops, webinars, coffee chats, office hours, or information sessions after the career fair, so it is a good idea to attend those events. Take advantage of these events to further connect with recruiters and express your interest in the company and position.

3. Send thank you notes.

Send a thank you email within 48 hours to the recruiters that you met. The thank you email should be about one to two paragraphs. If there was a question you did not get to ask during the career fair, ask it in the thank you note. Let the recruiter know if you plan on applying for a position with their company.

Pro Tip: Include information from your conversation notes so each thank you email is tailored to that specific recruiter.

4. Have a Next Day Interview

You attended the in-person career fair and now you have an interview the next day. Get ready for the interview by using InterviewPrep. InterviewPrep is an online interviewing system that you can use to practice interview questions. The online system is located on Handshake in the Resources section.
Pro Tip: Plan to wear business professional attire to the interview and arrive at least 5 minutes early. If you are not able to attend call OCS at 336-334-7755 to inform a staff member.