How to Maneuver a Career Fair

Preparation is the key to making a successful impression at any job or career fair. At a minimum, you should do the following:

Approach the company representatives from a networking standpoint. Don't start your conversation with "Are you hiring?" Ask them about their projects, products and clients. Let the conversation take a relaxed, natural pace. Prepare a thirty-second "brand statement" so you can talk about your discipline, projects, Tribeca Flashpoint and yourself. If they are hiring and are interested in hiring you, they'll tell you. Company representatives are going to have questions for you as well. So be prepared to chat!


 Note:  Do Not Approach An Employer In Pairs Or In Groups! Go up to a recruiter by yourself. Employers want to talk with one person at a time. You lower your chances if you are "part of a herd." You could also discuss the projects that you have been associated with and the skills that you have gained. If you've had an internship, talk about the experiences that you had. Everyone attending the fair should be prepared to talk about themselves, their abilities and their skills. Also you should have a carefully prepared and approved résumé that has been revised and approved by Career Services.


Interviewing Information

You should be well prepared for any career fair by improving your interviewing skills. Even if you have had some interviews recently, it never hurts to brush up on those skills. You should make an effort to review the interviewing information available on the Career Services section of the Flashpoint Chicago Website ( Password to access Professional & Industry Resources: careerservices). You can schedule mock interviews with Career Services who will help you to evaluate your interviewing skills. At the very least, you should review the Interviewing information and practice what you read.



Business casual attire is recommended for all participants.







































Prior to the Fair: Prepare!

  • Think about your strong points, your goals, the company and where you want to go within the company. Prepare a "one-minute brand statement."

  • Be prepared to discuss where you want to work geographically (Chicago, LA, New York, etc.), what you like doing, what you're looking for in a first job, what your most relevant skills are.

  • Understand how your skills (or the ones that you want to develop) relate to the employment opportunities available at your chosen organizations.

  • Thoroughly research your top companies attending the fair and gain background information which you can base your conversations with the company representatives. Check this website for the attending employer information.

  • Prepare your own job fair kit complete with résumés (enough for all employers that you want to talk with), other items that support your interests and abilities such as a portfolio/website and business cards.


Day of the Career Fair: Network!

  • Dress as you would for a job interview. You want to present the best image possible. Jeans, sweatshirts, and backpacks won't cut it. Avoid excessive jewelry and perfume/cologne. You will only have a few minutes to make an impression as a job candidate. Positive first impressions are critical.

  • Arrive early and map out your strategy. Who will you talk with first? Lines may be long for some companies. Plan accordingly and don't waste valuable time by standing in line.

  • Keep an open mind and don't reduce your opportunities due to lack of information or effort. You may want to tour the area and make contact with all the organizations to learn more about them and what they have to offer, but visit your top companies first.

  • Introduce yourself to the representative in a positive and confident manner; offer a firm handshake. State your name, your discipline, and when you are graduating or when you graduated.

  • Tell the recruiter what your interests are. For example: Discussing a particular career or job with that organization; learning more about the organization and available opportunities; learning more about what someone does in a particular career; discussing internship or summer job opportunities.

  • Give the representative a résumé and be ready to discuss your background, qualifications, and career goals. Ask what you should do to apply for a position with them.

  • Think of questions that you have regarding your area(s) of interest. Take notes on what you hear. 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?

  • Make sure you obtain the representative's name, title, e-mail, and phone number so you can follow up with them. Collect literature and business cards whenever possible, and ask the representative when you can expect to hear back from them.

  • Be sure to take notes after visiting each table. Write down your thoughts about the company, the recruiter, your chances, follow-up strategies, to-do list, etc.


After the Fair: Follow Up!

  • You should make it a point to follow up with a Thank-You note expressing your interest in the company and in what it has to offer. You may want to include an updated résumé or provide better answers to specific questions asked during the fair. Thank-you and follow-up emails should be received by the employer ideally within 24 hours after a fair…by Friday, May 10th THE LATEST!!!  Also, consider connecting on LinkedIn with professional you met, but make sure to include a brief message along with your connection request. Never send out "blind" connection requests.




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Students (Career Services)


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