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Career Fair Preparation: 5 Key Tips

When someone mentions a Career Fair, excitement for new career possibilities or apprehension for preparing to meet employers race through my mind. No matter what age you may be, marketing yourself to possible employers is no easy task! With these 5 Key Tips, you can take steps to feel more confident and comfortable navigating the Wily Network Career Fair on October 19th.  

  1. Brainstorm your goals for the Career Fair! Whether you have just started career exploration or you are ready to join the workforce, writing down your objectives will guide you at the fair. Below are a few examples of strong goals you can focus on.
    • I aim to research five companies and think of a couple of questions to ask the respective recruiters.
    • I can focus on my strengths and experiences to create a short introduction elevator pitch.
    • I will explore companies from 3 different industries and better understand that sector’s work opportunities. 
    • I will ask a friend/classmate/mentor for feedback on my resume, which I will distribute at the career fair.
    • I plan to introduce myself to five recruiters and ask for their follow-up contact information.
  1. Research in advance the companies that will be present and narrow down a list of companies that interest you. Hiring managers expect you to come to a job fair with a basic knowledge of their company and its products/services. Knowing the company’s core values and mission statements shows that you are genuinely interested in the company and will impress the recruiter. Powerful questions revolve around core values, office culture, recent internal changes, the impact of pandemic work protocols, and their experience with inclusive initiatives. If you are stuck thinking of questions that can’t be found on their website, Google is a convenient tool for providing industry questions to ask recruiters. Remember, the Career Fair is a convenient place to find out if a company or industry is a good fit for you, so focus questions on what matters most to you.
  1. Prepare an updated resume that reflects your strengths, education, recent experience, and leadership experiences. Keep in mind to quantify and show the results you drove in your positions. Many universities have Career Centers or Library Services that will provide feedback on resumes and workshops to improve it. You can also ask a classmate or professor for their help on your resume. Getting a second set of eyes on your work is crucial to communicate your experience to the recruiter. Also, it’s helpful to tailor your resume to the different companies you are interested in; this could be as simple as changing the previous coursework section or adding more points about a relevant job. ​​Overall, recruiters have seen every achievement imaginable, so your resume should be the best reflection of all your hard work.  
  1. Depending on your work sector, consider bringing a portfolio of your previous experiences. It can be a physical binder, book, or online portfolio with electronic documents that organize samples of your work. After researching the company and pieces created by employees, you can include work that reflects the company’s culture. This will bring your experience to life and make you stand out as an applicant. 
  1. Practice an elevator pitch that you are comfortable introducing yourself with. The introduction should include your educational background, what experience led you to be interested in a specific field, and your future career interests. If you are looking into new industries, consider mentioning how past experiences led you to this interest. This pitch should be straightforward and no more than 30 seconds. Since first impressions are impactful, a thought-out and well-versed pitch will make you memorable and start a personal conversation on future opportunities.

The Career Fair is a low-pressure opportunity to have a personal conversation with recruiters who know their industry positions best. Being your authentic self and highlighting your strengths will help you explore fitting opportunities. After going through these five tips to prepare, you will feel five steps closer to making the most out of the Career Fair. 

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