5 Career Fair Tips for College Students – Planning and Practice are Keys to Success

Yes, we know, it’s hard to get excited about Career Fairs. They are stressful, overwhelming, you may be competing against your classmate or good friend for face time with the recruiter, and it’s impossible to talk to all the companies that attend and be memorable. There are just too many people and not enough time.

We understand. That’s why we want you to forget about your past experiences and biases and try something new this year.

Have a plan

Review the list of companies that are coming ahead of time and rank the companies, prioritizing the ones you are most interested in first.

Get business cards
Many schools offer this service to students so check with the career center first. If not, head to www.vistaprint.com for the best value in business cards. It’s impressive to the recruiter as it shows you planned ahead, plus you’re more likely to get a card from the recruiter if you present one first. It’s also much easier to follow-up with each contact after the career fair too.

Prepare a pitch
Your pitch needs to be focused, short (60 seconds or less) and memorable and should have 4 key parts:

  • Introduction: Introduce yourself, offer a firm hand shake, a resume and a business card
  • Objective: Tell the employer why you are there and what sort of job/internship you seek
  • Summary: Briefly summarize your education, experience, strengths, highlight something unique or memorable
  • Closing: Reiterate your interest and thank the employer, tell them you’ll stay in touch

Review your checklist

  • Pen and Notebook
  • 12+ resumes
  • Business cards (can be stapled to resumes if preferred)
  • Copies of your unofficial transcript (optional)
  • Copies of list of references (optional)
  • Appropriate clothing – check the career center guidelines
  • Small breath mints—no gum!
  • A positive attitude

Practice first

Before going to talk with your favorite company, practice your pitch and engage with 1-2 other employers first. Think of this as your warm-up. Afterward, go out in the hall, reflect, and jot down notes on how it went. Makes small adjustments if needed, then go confidently to talk with your favorite companies.

Can’t wait to hear how your career fair went!



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