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Position yourself for success by preparing before you go to a career fair, and that means more than just having a resume ready to give. Get the most out of your time by clicking on one of the bars below to read tips for before, during, and after a career fair.
Create or update your resume (and plan to bring copies to the event). Carry them in a padfolio or at least a clean folder.
Review the list of participating employers and the list of positions, which you can access using RangerTrak powered by Handshake. Be open to opportunities that could get you to where you want to be and positions that use transferable skills that you've developed as a student.
Do your research. Find the company online, follow them on LinkedIn, and also be sure to search for news articles and social media posts related to the organization. You might be surprised to learn about initiatives and causes that the company associates itself with and that would be great conversation material.
Develop a cover letter for each potential position that interests you and have a standard one that you can quickly adapt to a specific opportunity as needed. Avoid using generic greetings like "To Whom it May Concern" or "Dear sir or ma'am"
If you plan to earn summer field work or internship credit for an experience you find at the fair, be sure to talk with your advisor or supervising instructor/faculty member to seek their input and approval.
Create a compelling elevator pitch and practice it several times.
View commonly asked interview questions and write out answers.
Generate specific questions that you want to ask about opportunities and employers.
Dress professionally. Dress to your advantage and ask for help if you need it! If you are having a difficult time obtaining professional attire, visit the Advising and Career Center's Career Closet.
Challenge yourself to talk with more employers than you originally planned. You could even start with one or two unplanned employers to warm up and nail it when you talk to your top choice.
Stop in the Student Resource room or elsewhere outside of the event for a breather. You can definitely come and go... you don't have to be there for the full length of the event!
Be professional and greet the representatives politely and with a firm handshake.
Emphasize your strengths, be confident and sincere and use your elevator pitch as a starting point. The best interactions are conversational, so be open to asking and answering questions.
Ask for a business card and thank the recruiter by name when you are ready to move along. Offer a copy of your resume, but know that some employers will direct you to their website to apply.
Send any information requested by the representative (references, transcripts, or other employment related documents) the same day or no later than the following day. If obtaining documents will stall you, let them know.
Follow-up with a thank you note by email or postal mail. Try to make reference to something specific that you talked about, including anything interesting you learned. The goal here is to be authentic.
Start practicing your interview skills and get yourself ready for the next step.
If you feel like you made a good connection, find the representative on LinkedIn and send over a brief message or a request to connect. Don't be bummed if they do not respond or approve the connection right away - they probably get a lot!