12 Tips to Crush the Career Fair

Exploring career options in your major? Seeking an internship for the summer? Researching your options for after graduation? An alum looking for a career change?
If so, the career fair might be an excellent event to attend. Whether you’re an alum, undergraduate, or graduate student, there’s something for you at our career fairs. Our career fairs are for everyone!
Our Winter Career & Internship Fair is coming up on Wednesday, February 20 from 3-6pm in the Ritchie Center Concourse. We hope to see you there!
Interested in attending the career fair but aren’t sure what to expect? We’ve got you covered!
Here are twelve tips to crush the career fair and walk away with career options, a lead on a fun internship for the summer, or clarity on life after graduation.
1. Identify your goals for attending the fair.
What’s your goal for attending the career fair? Are you exploring career options, seeking an internship or job, hoping to build your network, or a mix of all three? Mindset and strategy are two of the most important aspects of preparing for a career fair. By identifying your goals for visiting the fair, you can come up with a more effective strategy for before, during, and after the fair.
2. Who’s coming to the career fair?
Be sure to visit Pioneer Careers and click on the “Events” page to find more information about our upcoming career fair. It can be helpful to browse the list of employers to get a sense of who will be attending and which tables you might want to visit when you get to the fair.
3. Make a list of employers you plan to connect with.
Take your research one step further and get familiar with the company website and available opportunities for internships or jobs. You don’t have to visit every employer at the fair, but you want to make the most of the time you have at each table. If questions arise while you’re doing your research, be sure to bring them with you!
4. Have your personal introduction ready.
“Tell me about yourself” can be a challenging question to answer, whether you’re at a career fair or an interview. Come prepared to rock your personal introductions; this article might help you get started on crafting the perfect pitch.
5. Dress the part!
Business professional dress is typically expected at a career fair, so be sure to plan your outfit in advance. Not sure what to wear? This article gives a great rundown of professional attire and navigating authenticity in what you wear. Need something to wear? Visit our Career Closet, located in the Hub!
6. Craft (and revise) your resume.
You’ll have the opportunity to meet a handful of recruiters at the career fair, and many will instruct you to visit Pioneer Careers or their company websites to apply for open positions. While you might not be applying for something in the moment, it’s always a great idea to have an up-to-date resume that you’re proud of for after the fair. Our Career & Peer Advisors can help!
7. Know what to bring.
Be sure to bring a notepad and pen to jot down quick notes, leads, or insights. It might also be useful to have a few copies of your resume on hand; you never know if you’ll need it! If you have a name tag or business cards, it never hurts to bring them along.
8. Ask insightful questions and gather business cards.
As you visit each table, be sure to bring the list of questions that you’ve been working on in anticipation of the career fair. Be sure to ask for a business card toward the end of the conversation so you have the recruiter’s contact information for follow up.
9. Be creative.
Don’t see your program of study or industry of interest represented at the fair? Be sure to keep an open mind, as you never know who a recruiter or employer might be connected with. Find organizations that are close to your interests and visit each table. It might not be a bad idea to ask who they know at the company, and who they might be able to connect you with. Sometimes, finding that first point of contact can be the most challenging part of networking and a referral can be so useful!
10. Your peers are a resource.
While the career fair is primarily meant for students and alumni to network with employers, be sure to connect with your peers as well. Whether it’s a new face in another graduate program or an alum who is seeking a career change, you never know what you might learn from fellow attendees.
11. Enjoy the moment!
While career fairs can be intimidating and frenetic, take some time to enjoy the fair. It’s an excellent opportunity to talk with interesting people, learn about career fairs and practice for your upcoming interviews!
12. Be sure to follow up.
Did you meet some awesome alumni and employers at the career fair? Be sure to send them a quick thank-you note for meeting you, and reiterate your interest in the company. A thank-you note can go a long way towards building your connections and identifying opportunities. If you were asked to apply for an internship or job online, be sure to do so!