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Career Fair Preparation
Making the Most of a Fair

Are you prepared for an upcoming fair?  

A career fair brings together job seekers and employers with opportunities. The 2-3 minute exchange with an employer is considered a true interview. Prepare for them as you would any other interview.

What networking events/fairs are coming up?

Who is coming to the Spring Career and Internship Fair?

Attend a fair preparation workshop

What are my goals at a fair?

  • Connecting with organizations to collect information, submit resumes, or arrange interviews.
  • Discussing job search strategies, interview and resume tips, or finding a summer internship with recruiters.
  • Developing a job search network - collect referrals to other departments/divisions within an organization.
  • Meeting with new, less familiar organizations and discovering unexpected opportunities.

What do I bring?

  • Multiple copies of your resume copied on good bond paper. Get the number of employers at the fair to determine the best amount. Get your resume reviewed at the University Career Center ahead of time! We critique resumes in Career Assistance. Hours
  • A portfolio or folder in which to carry your resumes and other materials.
  • A notebook or planner to write down upcoming interviews or Employer Networking Sessions or other notes. A good pen. Several employers will have pens, if yours conks out.


What do I wear?

Conservative, professional attire. You need to be neatly groomed. Your chances for an interview or job could be risked if you wear anything that can distract an employer from focusing on your qualifications, like heavy perfumes or facial jewelry.

Tips for professional dress:

  1. Wear a clean pressed suit. If you do not own a suit, you should wear clean pressed dress pants or a skirt and a long sleeve light colored pressed shirt with a tie (sports jacket preferred) or a nice blouse.
  2. Skirts, if worn, should be no shorter than 2” above the knee.
  3. Avoid whimsical ties.
  4. Wear comfortable dress shoes, closed toe pumps or flats. You will be on your feet for hours.

    Examples of what to wear

    How to dress at an interview.  Short video


Before the Fair
Plan Ahead

  • Find out what organizations are attending. For the University Career Center's major fairs we always provide links on our home pages.
  • Determine the organizations of most interest.
  • Research these organizations through their websites.
  • Pack the appropriate number of resumes.
  • Prepare & practice your one-minute commercial to “pitch” to employers.
  • Prepare questions to ask representatives.

Develop Questions to Ask

  • What career opportunities are available in your organization?
  • What is the employment outlook in the field right now?
  • What opportunities do you have for ____________ majors?
  • What type of training is available?
  • What types of assignments are given?
  • What do you look for in candidates?
  • What key skills/experiences are highly desirable?
  • Do you have any tips for success in this field?

Note: Do not ask about salary or benefits.

 

During the Fair

  • Arrive early. Be there when recruiters are fresh, alert and attentive. Arrive before the majority of other students get there.
  • Take time to target organizations that interest you. But, also keep an open mind and consider organizations you are not familiar with – there are great opportunities everywhere. If a table is less crowded, you will have the opportunity to converse longer with the representative.
  • Be patient and anticipate crowds and lines. Try visiting the tables with fewer crowds first.
  • Scan employer handouts before talking to a recruiter. Instead of getting in line, approach the table from the side to quietly pick up materials to review.
  • Step back far enough to be able to listen to and observe recruiters speaking to other students. Determine if your one-minute commercial needs to be adjusted.
  • Take initiative and introduce yourself with a smile and a handshake.
  • Give your resume to the representative. Launch into your one-minute commercial.
  • Ask questions from the list you prepared.
  • Ask about the application procedure.
  • Get a business card or a contact name from every person you meet. Write interesting facts, notes or additional contact names on the back of the card or on your notepaper. Use this information to follow up after the fair.
  • Many company tables have “freebies”, such as pens, candy, and toys. Be courteous and cautious when taking these items. If you take any candy or gum, save it for after the fair. Don’t play with the stress balls or other toys during the fair. Avoid taking every free item you see. It is noticeable by recruiters and staff when a student seems to be attending the fair just for the free items.
  • Complete and return the University Career Center's student evaluation. Your comments are useful in planning future fairs.

 

After the Fair

  • Write a thank you note or e-mail to the representative you met. Include another resume and, if requested, any additional information.
  • Continue to research the companies or organizations that you met at the fair.
  • Use a variety of job search strategies in addition to job fairs to round out your job search.
     

Your Thirty-Second Commercial

Your Name:
Your Major:
Career Interests:
Work Experience:
Activities:
Type of Career Information or Job You Are Seeking

 

  1. Introduce Yourself: “Hi, my name is ______________. I’m a (senior, graduate student, sophomore, etc.) at the University of Maryland majoring in ______________. I’m interested in learning about what type of opportunities might be available at your organization.”
  2. Be prepared to continue your commercial by answering the recruiter’s questions. Example of question: “What type of job are you seeking?” The answer should NOT be “Anything” or “It doesn’t matter.”
  3. Tailor your commercial to each employer you approach. You will know how to tailor it because you will have  researched the company and know how your background and future goals fit each employer of interest.

 

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