Career Fair Prep: Explore new career paths

PREPARE TO ATTEND THE FAIR 

  • Review the list of employers who will be present and make a list of those you find interesting (regardless of what positions they are recruiting for). Search the list by your major, skills, or interest area to narrow the list.
  • Visit each organization’s website to identify the population they work with, where they are located, and what positions they are recruiting for. Use these resources to dig deeper!  
  • Develop a list of questions based on your research to initiate a conversation with employers at the fair (see examples below).
  • Create your 30-second pitch to be used in your introduction. Be upfront with the employer about your goals (i.e. I am only a sophomore, but I saw your job posting and thought it was so interesting. I would love to know more about it because I anticipate applying for it in the future.”).
  • Employers may ask for a resume so they can stay in touch with you. Develop a general résumé and print multiple copies on résumé paper. If you are interested in a particular field, create a targeted résumé.
  • Dress professionally. You only have one chance to make a great first impression.
  • Buy/borrow a folder or carrying case to hold your résumés, keys, paper, pencil, and business cards so that your hands are free for handshakes.
  • Study the layout of the fair and be prepared to visit key employers. 

 

EXCEL AT THE FAIR

  • Give employers what they are looking for: skills, confidence, be respectful.
  • Before entering the fair, take one more look in the mirror. If possible, check your bag and coat so you can focus on keeping your hands free.
  • Be conscious of the employer’s time, especially if there is a line behind you.
  • Do not be distracted by the employer’s give aways and gimmicks.
  • Display your name tag on your right side below your shoulder. The visual reminder will help some employers remember your name.
  • If you have to wait in a line to speak to employers, listen to others’ conversations. Use the information to make your questions even better.
  • Talk to employers who approach you. You don’t have to research all organizations attending in order to talk with an employer showing interest in you. 
  • Ask for contact information so you can stay in touch.

 

POST FAIR TIPS

  • If you really enjoyed talking to an organization and you want them to remember you, consider sending them a thank you email to follow-up on your conversation. Include a thanks, highlight your skills, remind them of what position you discussed, and highlight the next step (i.e. “I look forward to staying in touch with you and applying to this internship position in 2016”).
  • If you have an extensive conversation with an employer, consider inviting them to connect with you on LinkedIn or follow their organization on LinkedIn.
  • Engage with the organizations of interest through social media (Twitter, LinkedIn, blogs, etc.).
  • Visit the website of organizations you are interested in and register to receive position alerts for openings in your area of interest. Review the required skills for each position and develop a plan for obtaining those skills through the President’s Promise, for example.  
  • Find your organization of interest in Careers4Terps Employer Directory and click the “favorite star”. All events or positions that the employer posts on Careers4Terps will appear under “Notification” located on the Home page of Careers4Terps.

 

SAMPLE QUESTIONS

  • I see that x, y, and z skills are important for the XX position, can you tell me any additional skills you look for?
  • What is a typical day like in the XX position?
  • What do you like best about this organization?
  • Is there a skill set that most applicants are missing?
  • What experiences are you looking for when hiring new graduates for XX position?
  • What is the career projection for this position? Does it generally lead to other positions?
  • How do you usually advertise XX positions?
  • I see you are a UMD alum, what was your major? What experiences did you have as an undergraduate that prepared you for your current position?