I’m a senior this year; should I go to the career fair? If I go, what do I need to do?
By attending a career fair, you have the opportunity to make a personal connection and to walk away with industry and organization knowledge, information to enhance your resume or cover letter, and a contact to follow up with. You can meet employers at organizations that you hope to work for now or in the future and get answers to questions that you can’t find online. You also benefit the employer by putting a face to your resume!
Before the fair, you should research employers to help you feel more prepared and comfortable speaking with them. You can start with LionSHARE/Handshake or the Career Fair Plus app. For employers of interest, check their website and LionSHARE postings before the fair. Think about what you want to learn and what you want the employer to know about you.
Hear about the importance of researching organizations directly from an employer.
Be curious! Ask specific questions based on your research, knowledge of the company, and the information you are hearing at the moment. If you’re the only one at the table, feel free to ask many questions. Otherwise, you might want to focus on your top two questions and then move on, graciously. Employers talk to many people throughout the fair, your genuine enthusiasm or interest in the company, the work or the industry can boost the recruiter’s energy! Be flexible and adapt to the person with whom you are speaking. Some employers will ask for a resume first, some will just start talking about their company; others will expect you to start the conversation or ask questions.
Be brief and enthusiastic! If you have the opportunity to introduce yourself, do so and share something about your experience, skills or interests, as related as possible to that employer or position.
Be sure to make note of the representative or employer’s name! You will want to follow up after the fair with a brief thank you note and will need to know whom to thank.
Finally, an employer will often expect a firm handshake, good eye contact, genuine smile, ability to introduce yourself and express interest in their organization. Good luck!