Job Fair Preparation
Benefits of Attending a Job Fair
- Explore different fields and discover positions, companies, and career opportunities.
- Develop a network of contacts, approximately 70% of jobs are found through networking (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics).
- Gain experience interacting in a professional environment.
If you are not actively searching for a job/internship:
How to Prepare for the Fair
- Learn more about companies and positions and become “known” to employers for future opportunities.
- Find out what employers seek in applicants (skills, experiences, qualities) to help you better prepare.
If you are searching for a job/internship:
- Meet potential contacts for informational interviews.
- Learn about internship/job opportunities that you may be qualified for.
- Get noticed by companies!
- Analyze your interests, skills and work values to determine what type of job would be best for you.
- Check the Student Involvement and Employment Office website for a list of employers that will be attending the fair. Then create a prioritized list of employers you are interested in talking to.
- Research employers in advance so that when you approach them you are able to articulate why you are interested in their organization and can ask specific questions. Bring your list of questions with you to the fair!
- Prepare your 30 second “Elevator Pitch” to introduce yourself (example below). Be ready to answer some basic questions about yourself and why you are interested in their company and positions.
How to Dress
- Update and print your resume, include enough for your prioritized list and at least 10 extra copies in a portfolio or professional folder. For help with your resume visit Career Services
- Dress professionally—a suit is appropriate if you have one, otherwise wear a button-up dress shirt and dress pants. Make sure your clothes are clean and wrinkle-free.
- Wear comfortable dress shoes with matching color dress socks.
- For men, if you have a tie wear it. For women, if you wear a skirt make sure it is at least knee length.
- Keep your hairstyle simple and facial hair groomed.
- You want to dress appropriately in order to make a professional impression. Whether your purpose for attending the fair is to be seen as a serious candidate or you are looking for information or networking, it is still important to dress appropriately.
Day of the Fair
- Arrive early and familiarize yourself with the floor plan.
- Consider “warming up” with organizations that are lower on your priority list before approaching your top choices.
- When you approach an employer, give a firm handshake, make eye contact, smile, and introduce yourself.
- Offer your resume to the employer and tell them about yourself (see "Elevator Pitch" example).
- Be polite, honest, and enthusiastic. Speak slowly, clearly, and concretely. Most importantly, relax and be yourself!
- Be engaged in your conversations with employers and discuss your qualifications and interest in their company.
- Ask employers about their hiring process and how you can be considered for opportunities.
- If an employer directs you to apply online, don’t be discouraged. It is important that you make an impression at the booth. Some employers will note if you visit the booth and later verify that you applied online.
- Before you leave, ask for a business card and their preferred method of follow up. Thank them for their time.
When you approach an employer at a career fair it is important that you make a positive impression right away by giving a 30 second "elevator pitch" to introduce yourself. Use the guidelines below to help guide what you share in your "elevator pitch."
- Name, Year in school, Major
- Knowledge of company and interest
- Brief overview of skills and experiences (give an overview of what is on your resume)
- Your objective (what type of position you are seeking)
"Hi, my name is Mark Warner, it’s nice to meet you. I’m a junior at UW-Stevens Point majoring in Sociology and Social Work. My background includes coursework in electrical circuits and digital system design and I’m familiar with the MATLAB and SPICE programs. I am looking for an electrical engineering internship for this coming summer (edit this to fit the major). I know that your summer camp has a great program for middle school aged kids. I saw your posting on Quest and I feel that I would be a strong candidate for your camp counselor position."
After the Fair
- Reflect upon what you did well at the career fair and what you can improve on for next time.
- Send a thank you to the employers you spoke with within 48 hours. It is acceptable to email your thank you note. Remind employer of date/place, mention something unique about your conversation, express appreciation for time/information (be specific about what you talked about!).
- Maintain in touch with employers, keep in contact with them when you have a question, information that is pertinent to them, or to follow up on positions you’ve applied for.
- Consider connecting with the recruiter or following the company on LinkedIn (the world’s largest professional networking website: www.linkedin.com).
- Apply for any positions that you are interested in that you learned about from the job fair.
Dear Mr. Marx,
What Not to Do
It was nice to meet you at University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point Job Fair this afternoon. Thank you for taking the time to talk to me about job opportunities at your camp. It was exciting to hear about all of the contributions that past camp counselors have made to your organization. I also had fun learning that you went through the same study abroad program as me when you were a student at UW-Stevens Point.
As you advised, I applied for the position online, but I also wanted to send you an electronic copy of my resume. Do you know when you will be contacting applicants? Or, is there another person you recommend me connecting with to learn more about the position? Any information would be helpful as I am very excited about this opportunity. Thank you again for taking the time to talk to me at the Job Fair. I look forward to hearing from you!
- Don’t Show up at the fair with no idea of what employers are attending
- Don’t eliminate companies because they are recruiting for positions outside your major
- Don’t drop your resume on the recruiter’s table and walk off
- Don’t be unprepared of what to say to employers
- Don’t be intimidated by the recruiter; they are there to meet and screen potential candidates
- Don’t walk up to a booth and interrupt a current conversation
- Don’t waste the opportunity to network with recruiters and other professionals at the fair
- Don’t wear clothing that has inappropriate logos or sayings