Prepare for a Career Fair

  1. Review the list of companies and research those that interest you. The list of participating companies can usually be found in Handshake @ Illiinois.  
  2. Update your resume and have it reviewed. 
  3. Practice your elevator pitch.
  4. Gather items to take to the Career Fair - such as portfolio with notepad and pen; copies of your resume (more than the numbers of companies you plan to visit); and research notes on the companies.
  5. Determine if companies are holding pre-fair talks or events on campus - many companies will host info sessions on the eve of attending a fair.  Get a head start by learning about companies and meet their recruiters before the fair.
  6. Prepare questions to ask organizations.
  7. Plan and prepare appropriate attire.

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Approaching Employers at a Career Fair

Most interactions will be brief, often 3-4 minutes, but if no one else is in line you could have a longer conversation.

  • Greet the Employer
    • Establish eye contact, smile, shake hands, and introduce yourself. 
    • Be confident and upbeat.
  • Be ready to have a conversation with the recruiter.
    • Relax and speak slowly.
    • Articulate how your interests and qualifications are well-aligned with the organization's needs. 
    • Walk the recruiter through your resume, highlighting the important points that are relevant to their company/position.
    • Take notes about the conversation.
  • Finish the conversation
    • Request a business card and/or contact information.
    • Smile and thank the recruiter.

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Following Up After the Fair

  • Take Action. 
    • Apply for positions of interest in Handshake, the company website, or however you were directed at the fair. 
  • Send a  thank you email (within 24 hours) to contacts you met at the fair.
    • Refer back to something from your conversation.
    • Attach your resume.
    • Reiterate your interest in the company and the positions they have available.
  • Keep a file of all contacts made with the employer, including dates and application materials sent to them.

 

Next Day Interviews

Many organizations will schedule interviews at the career fair. If you schedule an interview:

  • Keep detailed information about the date, time, and location of your interview.
  • Get the interviewer's contact information in case you need to contact them. 
  • Be careful not to double-book yourself.
  • Leave enough time between interviews to allow for travel to another interview location or in case the interview exceeds the intended time.