Job Fairs: How To Make Them Work For You

Leading Up To the Fair

Learn who’s attending ahead of time.

Is this fair in your field of interest? Many fairs are geared specifically to certain fields, so make sure to read the event description before arriving!

Next, check out the list the companies attending in Handshake and narrow down the list of companies you are most interested in. Gather information about these employers from their websites or from the Career Center

Expect to be evaluated.

Remember that impressions count, even if you are only gathering information. Your initial contact with the company representative at the fair may be the company’s first screening. Make the most of it!

Be prepared with what you're going to bring and say.

Have your pitch ready:

  • Prepare a succinct summary of your qualifications and rehearse them before the fair! This will help you demonstrate your ability to articulate your skills.
  • Brainstorm at least two questions to ask employer representatives to show your interest in their company or field specifically.

What to pack:

  • Extra copies of your up-to-date resume. Do not list objectives on it. Need some support with getting your resume fair-ready? Make an appointment with a career coach OR check our events calendar to find upcoming resume workshops and labs. 
  • A folio/file where you can store materials you collect during the event, such as business cards and brochures. This is also handy for keeping your resume copies wrinkle-free and ready to go!
  • A notepad or journal
  • Pens or pencils to write with
  • A snack. If you're planning to be there for multiple hours, you'll want to keep up your energy.

Dress appropriately.

Regardless of how the company representatives are dressed, you want them to know you that you are a professional job seeker. Dress professionally and conservatively in clean clothes that are free of wrinkles. Eliminate extra bulk by avoiding extra coats, jackets or large bags and briefcases.

We recommend planning your outfit before the day of the event to avoid stress and make sure you're looking the part for the job you want. For more tips on dressing professionally, visit our interview tips page.

At the Fair

Check in at the front with your Student ID.

Check in at the registration table and pick up a list of companies and their location in the room. Take a moment to look around and acclimate yourself to the layout of the fair. Know the approximate amount of time you want spend at the fair and pace yourself.

Visit employer tables strategically.

Use the fair as your own job & career screening opportunity. It’s your chance to connect with dozens of employers and decide if following up is worthwhile.

  • Practice talking with other companies before targeting your favorite ones. Avoid eating, drinking or carrying food when visiting tables.
  • Wait patiently and avoid approaching an employer's table if someone else is conversing. Respect their privacy.
  • When approaching the representative, make eye contact, smile, shake hands firmly, and introduce yourself.
  • Tell them why you’re interested in their organization and hand them your resume. Be prepared to state your qualifications in 30 seconds or less.
  • Look for job postings, current or anticipated. Ask if you don’t see any available.
  • Collect business cards, applications and more information if you’re interested.
  • After leaving an employer table, take time to jot down notes if they interest you.

After the Fair

  • Write down notes while information is still fresh in your mind, like key names and important facts about the companies you're interested in following up with.
  • Send thank you notes. This demonstrates professionalism and your continued interest, especially if you were given a brief interview.
  • Copy applications prior to filling them out, in case you make a mistake (or use an erasable pen).
  • Fill out applications and submit them in a timely manner (one to two weeks). Include a note with the application naming the representative you talked to and which fair you attended.


Websites with additional information: