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Career Conversations: Top 3 Ways to Get the Most Out of a Career Fair

Career fairs are great opportunities for students to get a chance to talk to a wide range of hiring managers. The fairs are usually held by graduate schools, cities, and organizations and happen often throughout the year. Illinois Tech holds two per year for majors from all schools and the Stuart School of Business holds two per year specifically for business majors.

There are several ways you can prepare yourself for a job fair, but through my work with students, I’ve found there are three top ways that lead to students’ success.

Polish Your Resume

Don’t rush writing a resume. Give yourself time to craft something that is a shining representation of your education and experience. The Stuart Career Management Center offers resume review services, and it helps to have several trusted friends or mentors review your resume to catch grammatical mistakes or point out areas that could be improved. It may also be wise to tailor the resume to fit objectives of the companies you plan to visit at the fair. Be prepared to go through a few drafts of your resume before it’s ready to print and take to the career fair.

Prep an Intro

You might have to stand in lines to visit certain companies at the fair, and hiring managers may be trying to get through several interviews and meet as many students as possible. Therefore, having a solid 30-second introduction plan is key. Practice different ways to get your name, major, career interests, and strengths across quickly and in a way that’s personable and memorable. 

Research Employers

Review the list of employers that are listed as attendees. Make a list of the companies you would like to visit at the fair and look at their websites. Note recent news and check out any open job postings that align with your major to get a feel for important skills and requirements the hiring manager might be looking for.

Preparation is key to getting the most out of a career fair. Read more details on how to get ready in our interviewing guide.