Career Fair Student Guide

Preparation is the key to career fair success. 

Use this checklist to ensure you are ready to walk into the career fair with confidence. Employers are looking to meet with students who may be a good fit for their organization.

Visit the Career Center for helpful advice developing and tailoring your résumés and cover letters. Look over examples of résumés and read tips for strengthening your own documents.

Before the Fair

  • Review the list of organizations attending the Fall 2022 Career Fair and determine which organizations you want to meet with and what presentations you will attend. 
  • Follow organizations of interest on LinkedIn and research their company history, philosophy and career opportunities ahead of time.
  • Drop in or schedule an appointment to have your resume reviewed by the Career Center team to make sure it highlights your skills and achievements. 
  • Prepare a powerful introduction that shows employers who you are and what opportunities you are seeking in less than 30 seconds.
  • Some employers may choose to interview you on the spot. Be prepared by reviewing common interview questions ahead of time and practicing with a friend.
  • Choose an outfit that is professional and makes a good first impression. Plan to leave behind your backpack, skateboard or other bulky items. 
  • Think about the questions you want to ask an employer and write them down so you don’t forget.

Recommended items to prepare

  • A letter-sized padfolio with note pad and pen.
  • Extra copies of your resume.
  • Research notes on organizations participating in the fair.

Day of the fair

  • Check in at the registration table to pick up a nametag 
  • Review the information and organize a list of employers you plan to visit, in order of priority.
  • Practice your powerful introduction with a few employers before approaching your top picks.
  • Watch the traffic flow in the room and if a line seems too long, it may be more efficient to select another employer.
  • Review the information you have researched as well as the questions you want to ask the employer before you approach them.
  • Ask for the business card of each employer you speak with.

After the fair

  • Write handwritten thank you notes within 24 hours to those recruiters you visited at the career fair. 
  • Keep accurate records of your contacts with the organizations you meet with. Include dates of your emails or telephone calls and electronic copies of all application materials you send.
  • Respond promptly to any emails or phone calls from recruiters. 

Helpful tips

Does your resume:

  • Match the specific qualifications stated by the employer in the job description?
  • Focus on achievements, particularly on those directly related to job-specific skills and qualifications?
  • Emphasize your education, internships, relevant work experience, course projects, leaderships activities, professional affiliations, and/or technical skills?
  • Use bold and all capital letters appropriately to emphasize your name, headings, job titles and contact information?

Does your cover letter:

  • Follow a professional business letter format?
  • Demonstrate your company research to ensure an appropriate match of skills to their needs?
  • Describe the skills, abilities, personal traits and educational background that contribute to that organization?
  • Provide appropriate contact information for you to the employer?
  • Thank the employer for their time and consideration and end on an enthusiastic tone? 

Is your resume and cover letter:

  • Free of typos, spelling, and grammatical errors?
  • Organized and prioritized to demonstrate the skills employers need? 
  • Full of appropriate action verbs and work specific nouns? 
  • Easy for an employer to visually and electronically scan (no major underlining, no italics, no odd symbols)? 
  • Graphically pleasing?

Dress for success

  • As a general rule, stick to black, gray or navy suits, pants or skirts that are a solid color or have a very subtle pattern
  • Choose a shirt or blouse that coordinates well with your outfit, paying attention to potentially clashing patterns or colors 
  • If wearing a tie, select one that is solid, striped or with a small pattern
  • Wear close-toed shoes 
  • Wear a coordinating belt with dress pants
  • Limited jewelry and makeup is appropriate