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Career Conversations: The Top Eight Tips for Navigating a Career Fair

Career Conversations

Shahzad HussainBy Shahzad Hussain, Senior Associate Director
Stuart Career Management Center

Every fall and spring companies throng the campuses scouting for talent! Many of them are eager to catch the students early in their careers. Students are also excited and eager to meet company representatives. 

A lot of times, though, employers find that some students are not well prepared to navigate the career fair and hence lose this great opportunity to advance their careers. If you want to be successful in setting up a business, the three most important things to remember are Location, Location, and Location! If you want to be successful at navigating a career fair, remember these three important things —Research, Research, and Research!

Here are a few suggestions for you to keep in mind when meeting employers at the career fairs. 

1. Shortlist the companies: There may be many companies at the career fair and you need to be strategic about which company representatives you want to meet. Prepare a shortlist of companies depending on the roles that interest you so that you can maximize your time. 

2. Research the companies: You need to gather basic information about each company on your shortlist, such as the location, industry, products or services it offers, the company’s competitors, its share price, and the roles the company is recruiting for.

3. Personal introduction: You must be able to introduce yourself in a couple of minutes and talk about the role you are interested in and show how you are a good fit for that role. Practice your personal introduction, as it is the first impression you will be creating. 

4. Customized resumes and padfolio:  Customize your resume for the positions you are interested in applying for. This will ensure that you will stand out amongst the bunch of applicant resumes. You need to print your resumes on good quality resume paper and carry sufficient copies in a padfolio.

5. Business professional attire: It is important to be professionally dressed and look sharp. This is your opportunity to impress the employers and create that great first impression.

6. Firm handshake and body language: Give a firm handshake when meeting the company representatives and have the proper eye contact and body language while you are interacting with the employers. Have a smile on your face and pay attention to what employers are saying and asking of you. Your body language must clearly demonstrate your interest in working for that company. 

7. Business cards: Give your business cards to the employers after you are done talking with them. It not only looks very professional but also reminds the employer about you and can help you stand out in the crowd. 

8. Thank you notes: Send thank you notes to all the company representatives you met within 24 hours and reiterate your interest in working for the company.

Shahzad Hussain is Senior Associate Director of the Stuart School of Business Career Management Center.

Career Conversations is presented by the Stuart School of Business Career Management Center.