The benefits of career fairs vary with one’s class year: For graduating students, they offer an opportunity to make contacts, distribute resumes and explore new avenues of employment. For first-, second- and third-year students, career fairs allow one to explore career options and look for internships, research experiences, volunteer opportunities or summer jobs. Either way, it is in students’ best interest to attend!
Things to Remember
- Use good speaking techniques—make eye contact with the representatives while asking questions and listen attentively
- Make the most of it; plan on spending as much time as you can
- You will miss many opportunities if you pass up a table just because you “think” you know what they are looking for
- Look sharp, be assertive and smile
- Be ready to sell your key feature that make you unique from others applying for the same job or internship
- Ask what you can do for an organization; do not be overly concerned about what an organization can do for you
- Collect business cards for future reference and obtain names of personnel directors and managers, get applications and leave your resume
- Follow-up with phone call, letters and/or e-mails
- Greet a recruiter by saying "hello" and shaking hands. Introduce yourself and identify your status, saying something like "I'm just beginning to explore career options. I'm very interested in the field of computer science. Could I ask you a few questions about the field?"
- Be inquisitive—the more information you gain, the more effective your follow-up communications
- Listen carefully to the representative's responses and to his or her discussions with others
- Be sure to clarify appropriate steps to follow if you are interested in being considered for opportunities within your fields of interest
- Always leave a quality copy of your resume
- Thank the representative for his or her time, collect literature, and continue on to another table. The more people you talk to, the better.
- Write thank-you notes
- Collect business cards or jot down names of those you speak with
- A follow-up can set the date for an informational interview and, ultimately, for job search consideration