You’ve heard all the buzz about the upcoming career fairs, now it’s time to make sure you are ready to put your best foot forward and make the most of your time at the fair.
What career fairs or networking events are coming up?
What employers are going to be in attendance at the fair?
- Spring Career & Internship Fair • Wed., Feb. 21st, Thur., Feb. 22nd and Fri., Feb 23rd
- Maryland Metropolitan Education Expo • Wed., Feb. 28th
- Architecture, Planning, Preservation and Real Estate Development Career & Internship Fair • Fri., Mar. 2nd
- Geographical Sciences Career & Internship Fair • Fri., Apr. 6th
- Health Professions Graduate School Recruitment Fair • Thur., Apr. 19th
Other important things to consider:
What are 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
- Discuss job search strategies, interview and resume tips
- 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.
What should you bring to the fair?
- A smile and positive attitude
- A good pen. Several employers will have pens, if yours conks out.
- Multiple copies of your resume on resume paper. Review the list of participating employers to ensure you have enough copies for those of interest to you.
- A portfolio or folder to carry your resumes and to store any business cards you collect.
- A notebook or planner to write down any notes or information about upcoming employer interviews or events you may want to attend.
What should you wear?
Conservative, professional attire. You will want to be neatly groomed and avoid that can distract an employer from focusing on your qualifications, like strong perfumes or facial jewelry.
- Tips for professional dress:
- Wear a clean pressed suit. If you do not own a suit, you should wear clean pressed dress pants or a skirt and a long sleeve light colored pressed shirt with a tie (sports jacket preferred) or a nice blouse.
- Skirts, if worn, should be no shorter than 2” above the knee.
- Avoid whimsical ties.
- Wear comfortable dress shoes, closed toe pumps or flats. You will be on your feet for hours.
Check out our Pinterest page for examples of what to wear!
Download your own Job Search Plan and Checklist (coming soon!)
Don’t forget to review the ‘Getting the Most Out of the Career Fair’ information from our Terp Guide (pg.35)
Before the Fair – Planning is key!
- Find out what organizations are attending and conduct appropriate research on them.
- Learn the type of opportunities they are hiring for
- Read about their company culture
- See a list of participating employers on each fair website (link to website).
- Create a list of employers of most interest so you can plan your time at the fair appropriately.
- Prepare the appropriate number of resumes.
- Practice your one-minute commercial to “pitch” to employers.
- Prepare questions to ask representatives in attendance.
Sample Questions Might Include:
- What career opportunities are available in your organization?
- What is the employment outlook in the field right now?
- What opportunities do you have for ____________ majors?
- What type of training is available?
- What types of assignments are given?
- What do you look for in candidates?
- What key skills/experiences are highly desirable?
- Do you have any tips for success in this field?
- Note: Do not ask about salary or benefits.
During the Fair
- Arrive early. Be there when recruiters are fresh, alert and attentive. Arrive before the majority of other students get there.
- 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. If a table is less crowded, you will have the opportunity to converse longer with the representative.
- Take initiative and introduce yourself with a smile and a handshake.
- Give your resume to the representative. Launch into your one-minute commercial.
- Ask questions from the list you prepared.
- Get a business card or a contact name from every person you meet. Write interesting facts, notes or additional contact names on the back of the card or on your notepaper. Use this information to follow up after the fair.
- Many company tables have “freebies”, such as pens, candy, and toys. Be courteous and cautious when taking these items. Avoid taking every free item you see. It is noticeable by recruiters and staff when a student seems to be attending the fair just for the free items.
After the Fair
- Apply to any positions you may have learned about at the fair.
- Write a thank you note or 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.