Going to my first career fair was super intimidating, but after a lot of research I was able to walk into the fair with (relative) confidence and excitement. Through the career fair, I was lucky enough to land an internship with the company of my dreams for this upcoming summer! Here are a few tips and tricks I picked up in my research and from my own experience, and hopefully they will help you make this your best career fair yet.
How to Prepare
1. Prepare your elevator speech!
“Hi, my name is (so-and-so). I’m a (graduating year) and I’m passionate about (something you’re passionate about!), a key reason why I am pursuing a major in (your major) . I hope to one day work in (insert career goals) so that I might be able to apply my (include three key traits). I am interested in your company because of (three reasons). Would you be able to provide more information on the opportunities that are available for a full-time/internship position?”
2. Prepare your “cheat sheet”
- A list of the employers you want to visit & research on each company
First things first, you should definitely take the time to visit your school’s career fair webpage, which will feature a list of the employers that are attending the career fair. Jot down a list of every employer that you plan on visiting, their table number (if that information is available), and visit the company’s website.
- Questions you’d like to ask your recruiter
I know there’s that saying that “there’s no such thing as a bad question”, but in this case, there just might be. Asking things like “how much do you pay your interns?” or “where are you located?” are silly and show that you didn’t prepare. A few questions you could ask are:
- What qualities are you looking for in an employee?
- Do you offer full-time opportunities to your interns?
- What is the company culture like?
- Key points from your elevator pitch
Remember the sticky note I told you to write? Stick it to your cheat sheet!
3. Bring a folder, pen, and LOTS of resumes!
A folder is essential because you will also be getting business cards from different employers, which are important for contacting the recruiter after the career fair to thank him/her for the time. A friend told me to always keep a pen with you at a networking/career event, so that you can jot down a quick overview of the conversation you had with the person. It makes it much easier to send thank you emails later on!