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Prepare for the Fair

This video gives you detailed tips on how to prepare for many of UMD's Career & Internship Fairs offered through the Center and beyond. Check out the chapters in the video to scroll to your most needed content.

Define your goals for the fair:

  • Connect with organizations to learn more about them and their opportunities
  • Identify potential internship or full-time opportunities; submit resume or learn the best method for applying
  • Develop your network – gain recruiter contact information or collect referrals to other departments/divisions within an organization. These relationships can be key in the future.
  • Meet with new, less familiar organizations and discovering unexpected opportunities

Before the Fair – Planning is key!

  • Find out what organizations are attending in Handshake and conduct appropriate research on them.
  • Learn about the types of opportunities they are hiring for.  Log onto Handshake and see if they have postings listed.  Go onto the organization's website and check out their careers section.
  • Create a list of employers of most interest to you, so you can prioritize who to connect with first.
  • Research the organization's culture through, LinkedIn, and just by simply googling the name of the organization.
  • Prepare your resume.
  • Practice how you will introduce yourself to employers, including your name, potentially your major, what opportunity the employer has available that is most of interest to you (show you did your research!), and any background or experiences that would be of interest to the organization.
  • Prepare a list of targeted questions to ask each employer based on the research you conducted.
  • For virtual fairs, prepare your virtual presence. Given events are virtual, ensure you have tested your technology and considered an appropriate virtual background.

During the Fair

  • I saw that you have XYZ internship posting in Handshake - can you tell me a little bit more about that internship?
  • What type of projects do interns work on?  What kind of training would I receive?
  • Beyond the skill sets of (example 1), (example 2), (example 3) shared in the job description, what other skills are you looking for in candidates?  (Then share how you have those skills!)
  • Can you give me insight into your hiring timeline?

Consider the field you are interested in pursuing.  Do some research on what is typical within that field and take your dress a step further.  If a suit is typical attire in the field, wear a suit. If a t-shirt and jeans is typical in the field, wear a polo shirt or nice blouse.  

Check out our Pinterest page for examples of what to wear!

  • Try to engage in the fair when it begins.
  • Target the organizations of interest you. But, also keep an open mind and consider organizations you are not familiar with – there are great opportunities everywhere. You will be able to see how long of a wait each employer has (even virtually).  Explore a potential employer that has a shorter wait time. 
  • Once you are with the employer, introduce yourself with a smile.  Allow the employer to introduce themselves and then tell them more about yourself.
  • Ask questions from the list you prepared.
  • Write notes about your interaction with the employer to help craft your thank you note after the fair and to remind yourself of next steps after the fair.

After the Fair

  • Apply to any positions you may have learned about at the fair.  Many will be posted in Handshake, but also ask the employer how to best apply for their opportunities.
  • Write a thank you e-mail to the representatives you met. Include another resume and, if requested, any additional information.
  • Continue to research the companies or organizations that you met at the fair.


Supplement your fair attendance by attending other employer events such as information sessions, networking events or panels. See the Calendar for an upcoming events listing.

How to Register for a Virtual Career & Internship Fair

Log into your Handshake account, select “Events & Career Fairs'' from the list menu on the right side of the screen. Once the webpage loads, select the fair you would like to attend from the list of options. Select “ATTEND” on the fair homepage.

Once “ATTEND” has been selected you will be prompted to choose a resume that was previously uploaded to Careers4Terps or to upload a new resume if you have not yet done so. This allows your resume to be seen by employer representatives prior to the fair. 

Once you have successfully registered for the fair, it is now time to prepare! Watch this “How to Access and Navigate a Virtual Career Fair on Careers4Terps” video to get acquainted with the fair module and what you will experience the day of the fair.  Read additional preparation tips below.

  • Be sure your profile in Handshake is up to date.
  • Have an updated web browser and flash player installed.
  • Be thoughtful of your background - what will the employer see behind you when you're on camera?
  • Test your lighting.  Make sure the employer will be able to see you clearly.
  • Try to position your camera at eye level.  Consider stacking a few books underneath your laptop or computer monitor if needed.
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