Wearing sneakers, jeans, or untidy clothes:
Make sure your clothes and shoes fit your professional image and the career fair's dress
Bad breath: In the tight quarters
of the fair, you will be very close to employers. Be sure to brush your teeth,
and use mints or mouthwash before you enter, especially if you had coffee or other
Body odor or strong perfume/cologne: Career fairs get crowded and hot. Noticeable body odor and/or strong scents are
Monotone or over-rehearsed pitch: Be
sure to convey interest and be genuine. Be present, listen, and respond. (See "How do I talk to employers?" for more
Not paying attention while waiting in line: Employers
notice who is in line and how they behave, so be attentive even while
waiting. Listen to what the employer is
saying to the student in front of you, but don't crowd him/her. Notice body language: is the employer trying to include several
people in the conversation? If so, follow their lead, turn slightly to open the
circle, and join in with a question if it seems appropriate.
Disorganization: Know who you want
to see and a little about the company before you step up to the table. Have
your materials in order (do not search for a pen or your resume). Be ready to hand over your resume if appropriate
(See "Should I give my resume to employers?" for more information.)
Weak or strong handshake: Employers
will shake many hands. Don't crush their hand, hold on too long, or be limp.
Conversation doesn't go well: Shake it off and move on! You won't click with everyone and that is okay. Check
in at the "Ask a Counselor" desk to practice your conversation or to talk through what
happened and where things went wrong.
Crowds: Be ready for lots of people,
noise, and heat. Have a plan. Pace yourself and know who you want to talk to. Drink water.
Take a break to gather your thoughts or
check in with friends. Stop by the "Ask a Counselor" table to reenergize. Visit employers downstairs for a break from
the crowds on the main level.
Not having a plan: Be strategic,
know who you want to target, and build up to your top employer by practicing
with other employers who interest you but who are not your top choice.
Not being flexible: Your top choice
may cancel at the last minute or have fifty people waiting in line: who else
can you approach? You need to be able to
adapt to the changing circumstances of the fair.
Thirst: Bring a bottle of water with you or use the water fountain
near the bathrooms (between the double doors on the main floor). Don't leave the fair for water or you will have to wait in line again.
Leaving prematurely: Once you leave
the fair, you will have to get back in line if you want to reenter the fair. Make sure you
have spoken to every one you want to before you leave. Take a moment to collect your thoughts, review your notes, or just take a break.
Professionalism & Courtesy
Cutting the lines: Sometimes it's
not immediately obvious where the line ends, so be mindful of others who are
waiting. If the employer wants to speak to the group, help facilitate the group
conversation and allow others to speak. Your ability to connect with the group
will be noticed.