How Will You Stand Out? Tips on How to Work a Career Fair: by Rebecca Damas

September 04, 2014 |

danielscareers-howtoprepareAre you attending the biggest career fair of the year on September 12 at Sports Authority Field? Will you take advantage of the opportunity to talk to over 130 companies?

How will you stand out?

Whether you have attended 25 career fairs or zero, you must always prepare in order to maximize the experience. In order to put your best foot forward, keep these things in mind, and attend one of the “How to Work a Career Fair” workshops on September 9, 10 or 11:

  • At career fairs, you may only have three minutes to market yourself
  • Professional dress is critical: wear an appropriately fitting suit!
  • Prepare/rehearse your “elevator pitch.”
    Your 30 second elevator pitch is an introductory statement that answers the question to the employer: “What can this candidate do for me?”
  • Introduce yourself.
  • Experience: major, field of study and any relevant work experience.
  • Strength or skill in which they would be interested.
  • Accomplishment (or two) that proves you have that skill.
  • Employment goal: what are you looking for now and/or in the future?
  • Bring many copies of your résumé (have at least 2 people review it beforehand).
  • Research the companies that will be in attendance and their available positions.
    Utilize company websites,, Career Insider, LinkedIn and Business Periodicals.
  • Have knowledgeable questions to ask company representatives; know the current events surrounding their company and ask about company culture.

Ensure you make a great first impression by dressing and acting professionally (put cell phones away!), remembering your professional introduction/elevator pitch and questions for the employer. Once you arrive, you should get a program and locate the employers you’d like to meet (TIP: Practice on a couple who aren’t at the top of your list first). Communicate gracefully and with confidence, collect business cards and be prepared to give out your résumé.

After the fair, send each employer a thank you email and connect on LinkedIn—personalize this outreach message. Organize your notes and calendar noting any future follow-up contacts you will initiate, and meet with a career counselor to prepare for the interview you will hopefully have landed!

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