Top Tips to Prepare for an In-Person Career Fair

We are thrilled to be offering an In-Person Career Fair this fall after several seasons of virtual-only events. Our Fall In-Person Career Fair will be held on Friday, September 23rd from 11:30 am – 2:30 pm in Gantcher Center, and we wanted to highlight some major perks about participating in an in-person fair. As a reminder, we have a student checklist for you, and we encourage you to review it to make sure you are prepared and bringing your best you to the event! You can also drop into a Career Lab to get your resume critiqued and get advice on participating in the fairs from both our career fellows and our advisors.

Top Tips for an In-Person Career Fair

⭐Research Employers Ahead of Time

We will be hosting up to 100 employers at our fall fair – that’s a lot of booths to visit! You may not have much facetime every single employer, so consider perusing the list of attending companies ahead of time. Take note of several employers you are eager to connect with, and prioritize stopping at those booths. Take some time before the fair t0 research your favorite participating companies and come up with a question or two to ask that could make you stand out among the crowd.

⭐Write an Elevator Pitch

Unlike a large group information session, in-person Career Fairs give students the opportunity to talk face-to-face with employers and leave a lasting impression. You won’t have a ton of time to chitchat, though, so you want to do what you can to stand out! A good elevator pitch should last around 30 seconds and touch on a few key pieces of information about you – who you are, why you’re here, what you can offer, and your professional goals.  Check out this resource for tips on how to write a killer elevator pitch. You can also use tools like Big Interview to practice your pitch in a virtual landscape!

⭐Explore Unfamiliar Options

Career Fairs aren’t just for networking with your dream company – they are also a great opportunity to expand your horizons and consider opportunities you may never have thought of. Take the time to stop at the booths of companies you’ve never heard of – you may be surprised at what they have to offer! Make sure you bring your phone with you to the fair – some employers will display QR codes that link to more information about their businesses. You should also grab a business card if provided!

⭐Dress Professionally to Make the Best Impression

Plan to dress professionally for the Career Fair. Review proper attire for MenWomen, and those beyond the binary. Business casual attire is generally appropriate for Career Fairs, unless you’ve been instructed differently. You may note some career fair or interview attire guidelines portray traditional gender roles: Remember, you are the final judge of what will work for you. Job seekers should dress professionally for the gender they would choose to present at work, or in gender-neutral attire. The most important consideration for appropriateness of attire is that clothes be professional, fit well, and be consistent with organizational culture. You may also want to consider wearing an outfit that will look good on camera – there will be a professional photo booth at the career fair, and we encourage students to get a shot taken for their LinkedIn!

⭐Follow up

After the fair is over, follow up with employers who left a lasting impression on you. If you received a business card, consider sending a quick thank you note to those who took the time to connect with you. You can also search for a company on Handshake and “follow” them to be alerted to any upcoming coffee chats, job opportunities, or on-campus interviews the company has coming up. Additionally, check out the list of employers attending our Virtual Career Fair on September 30th – some of our employers are attending both of our fairs, and you may have the opportunity to sign up for a virtual one-on-one with an employer you chatted with only briefly at our in-person event.

Lastly, join our Prepare For The Fairs webinar on Friday, September 16th from 12-1pm (ET) for more tips and tricks!

See you at the in-person fair!

By Willa Mayo
Willa Mayo Recruiting Coordinator, Employer Relations