So you’ve signed up for a career fair at your university. Awesome! That’s a great first step to landing your dream job/internship.
Now comes the tricky part—actually making a positive impression in a crowded room full of resumes just like yours with a maze of booths to visit.
Don’t worry. iD Tech has you covered!
Career Fair Tips
We attend dozens of campus job fairs every year in search of tech rockstar instructors, so we have the insider info on what employers really want to see from attendees like you.
Take it from the experts: here are seven pro tips for success.
Before the event
Do your homework
Most events will post a list of attending employers in advance. Make time to research each opportunity and really do your homework.
Ask yourself: which companies are hiring for summer internships vs. full time jobs? Do I have the qualifications they’re looking for? Does this job align with my skills and goals?
Get the answers you need and prepare thoughtful questions to ask company reps.
Dress the part
Not sure what “business formal” or “business casual” even means? Find out! If there isn’t a dress code listed in the event description (which you checked, right?), business casual is a good rule of thumb.
Also make sure your outfit is clean, ironed, and ready for a great first impression. The “crumpled/fresh off the floor” look ruins even the best attire.
Gather the essentials
Print out your resume and tuck the copies in a professional-looking folder or portfolio. You know there’s going to be a line for printing the day of the event, so set aside plenty of time beforehand for updating, proofreading, and printing!
You’ll shake a lot of hands and meet a lot of people, so you’ll also want to pocket some mints and hand sanitizer. (You will thank yourself later.)
During the event
Easy on the intro
No one likes a piece of paper thrown in their face without a proper introduction, so pace yourself here! Make eye contact, give a good handshake, and ask the company rep how their day is going. It’s well worth the extra 20 seconds.
Then it’s OK to share why you’re excited about their company, or ask if they would like to see your resume. Each booth will have their own process for these events, and it’s respectful to go with their flow.
Ok, real talk here: if you come across a booth that you didn’t get the chance to research, it’s best not to fudge it. Employers can see through that in a heartbeat. If you see an intriguing booth that you aren’t familiar with, read their signage/posted materials before approaching.
Trust us on this one, “I see you’re hiring for XYZ position! I’d love to know more about what you’re looking for” sounds a lot better than “I read about your company and…. [things that are irrelevant/ inaccurate].”
Read the room
Job fairs tend to be crowded. So, be mindful that a conversation with a friend might be easy for an employer to overhear. Translation? These events are not the time to get too personal or share your unfiltered opinion of one of the companies present.
It can also get loud, so make sure you speak clearly and at an appropriate volume when meeting with representatives.
After the event
You made it! Now is the time to follow through while the experience is fresh in your head. Use your newly acquired knowledge to fill out job applications in detail, since you know what your top choice employers are looking for. If you managed to get personal contact information from a representative, a customized email can go a long way in solidifying a positive impression.
Once that’s done, relax and do something nice for yourself! You’ve earned it.