Tips for Making the Most of the Career Fair

1. Have a well-written resume.  We highly recommend that you get your resume critiqued in advance by the Career Development Center during walk-in hours.  Print your resume out on resume paper, which is available at most office stores.  Bring plenty of copies to the fair, enough for all of the employers that you want to talk with, and keep them stored neatly in a portfolio or folder.

2.  Learn about the organizations attending the career fair.  Over 200 organizations representing a variety of career fields will be at the fair to discuss full-time, part-time, internship, and seasonal opportunities.  Check out Career Fairs to see the list of employers scheduled to attend the fair, and then start doing your research.  Pick your top 5 – 10 employers, gain background information about them, and plan to approach these organizations first.  Afterwards, take a tour of the Fieldhouse and make contact with other employers to learn more about them and what they have to offer.

3.  Know what kind of job or internship you want and be able to express it.  Prepare a “one-minute commercial” about yourself.  Introduce yourself in a positive and confident manner and offer a firm handshake.  Include your name, major, and year of graduation.  Give your resume to the representative and be ready to discuss your background, qualifications, and career goals. 

4. Find out the name and title of the representative.  Make sure you obtain the representative’s contact information so that you can follow up.  Collect business cards and company literature whenever possible and ask the representative when you can expect to hear back from the organization. 

5.  Dress appropriately.  Wear professional attire, and dress as you would for a job interview.  We highly recommend that you wear a suit, especially if you are seeking full-time employment.  You want to present the best image possible - jeans, t-shirts, sweatshirts, sneakers, hats, short skirts, and tank/low-cut tops won’t cut it.  If possible, leave your backpack and coat in your room or car.  You will have only a few minutes to make a positive first impression! For more tips on dressing professionally, click here.

6.  Allow yourself plenty of time.  Arrive early and map out your strategy.  Do not hurry through the fair because you will need adequate time to speak to the various employers.  We suggest that you arrive during the first hour of the fair, if possible, because the representatives will be more energized in the morning and you will encounter fewer crowds.

7.  Ask questions.  Use the career fair as an opportunity to ask questions about the organizations and their anticipated openings.  Asking questions will help you decide if each organization is the right fit for you.  Some questions might be:  What are common career paths with your organization?  What is the training program for new hires?  What do you look for in a candidate?  This is one of the few chances you will have to speak face-to-face with representatives of these organizations, so take advantage of it!

8.  Make notes as you leave each organization.  Be sure to bring a pen and paper to the fair so that you can write down your initial thoughts about the employer.  Taking notes will allow you to easily remember the different organizations if you get a phone call from them.

9.  Follow up.  After the Career Fair, make it a point to send a thank you letter and attach a copy of your resume.  In your letter, thank the representative for coming to the fair and reiterate your interest in the organization and position.  If you would like to get your thank you letter reviewed, just come to the Career Development Center during walk-in hours.

10.  Be prepared for an interview within a short period of time.  You never know when you could get a phone call from an employer.  It could be the very next day or 6 months later!  Start getting ready for the interview process by scheduling a mock interview with the Career Development Center.

11.  Utilize additional job and internship search strategies.  The Career Fair is not the only way to find a position.  In addition, some career fields (such as communications and scientific research) will not be as well-represented as other career fields (such as marketing) at the fair because these types of organizations tend to hire employees through other methods.  Make an appointment with the Career Development Center to learn additional strategies for finding a job or internship in your specific field of interest.  Our services are designed to assist students of all majors and career interests, and include online job and internship postings, alumni networking contacts, workshops, networking nights, and much more! 

12.  Contact the Career Development Center if you have any questions.  You may reach us at careerhelp@sju.edu or x3100.  Come to walk-in hours (weekdays 1-4 PM during the academic year) for resume critiques and quick questions, or call the office to schedule an appointment for more in-depth assistance.  We are located on the first floor of Moore Hall and look forward to seeing you soon!

Want to learn more about these tips? Schedule an individual appointment by calling 610-660-3100.