Preparation Information

 

Career Fairs are a great opportunity for students to meet with employers and learn about companies, potential jobs, internships, and careers.

Employers are just as excited to talk with students as you are to talk with them. And using your time efficiently and wisely at any career fair is the key to success. 

 

See the Connect Guidebook for Career Fair Prep

  

Career Fairs at Oregon State University are going virtual through Handshake this year! Make sure to update your Handshake profile and upload your resume.  Also, check out some of the resources below:

New! Virtual Career Fairs

 

  • Clarify your goals regarding what you want to get out of the Career Fair (Are you looking for information to explore companies and career possibilities? Are you looking for a full-time job or internship?)

  • Research the companies that will be attending the fair on the Career Fair website; learn more about them and positions they have open on their company website  
  • Reflect on your skills and experience to understand and articulate how they match up with the companies attending the fair and open positions
  • Prepare a list of informed questions to ask each employer that you are interested in such as "I noticed that you have a Project Management position available, could you tell me more about that and what you are looking for?"
  • Develop a stand-out resume to give to employers that highlights your related skills and experience; schedule an appointment with the Career Development Center for help
  • Print copies of your resume on resume paper (24 lb paper); make enough copies to give to the employers that you want to talk to + 10
  • Construct a 30 second to one-minute introduction to share with employers to demonstrate your knowledge of the organization and express your interest in them. This will be your first impression and your opportunity to stand out, so think about how your education and/or experience relate to the organization's needs based on your research. Provide the following information during your introduction:
    • Name
    • Class (junior, senior, graduate, etc.) & Major
    • Relevant experiences (work, internship, volunteer)
    • Highlights of skills and strengths
    • Knowledge of the company
    • Opportunities you are seeking
  • Dress and look professional
  • Travel light; leave your backpack, coat and cell phone at home, in the car, or check them in at the fair coat check
  • Be independent; your friends may also be at the fair, but take advantage of the time to visit the employers you want to visit on your own
  • Take initiative on the conversation; begin with your 30-second introduction when you walk up to the table
  • Present yourself confidently; maintain good eye contact, shake hands firmly and speak clearly and concisely
  • Show enthusiasm and interest by smiling and asking pertinent questions
  • Distribute targeted resumes to employers you are interested in
  • Plan your time wisely;
    • Review the map of employer tables and strategize your route so that you aren't running all over the place
    • Go back to tables that have long lines
    • Visit employers of less interest first to practice your introduction and help ease your nerves
  • Keep an open mind and talk to employers you have never heard of or didn't think you would be interested in; you could just find that they are hiring in your area of interest
  • Don't monopolize the employers time; plan to spend about 5 minutes at each table
  • Feel free to take notes on companies and open positions as recruiters are talking with you
  • Ask about next steps; when and where will positions be posted for you to apply? will they be interviewing?
  • Collect business cards of the recruiters that you talk to. If you want to speak with someone in a different department, ask for their name, and contact information.
  • Reflect on your experience at the fair; what went well, what didn't, what would you do differently next time?
  • Write down notes on the employers that you talked with and open positions they shared with you
  • Send a follow-up email to employers you were most interested in or who spent significant time with you at the fair to thank them for their time, reiterate your interest in their company/position, and indicate your next steps (i.e. plan to apply, will keep an eye out for open positions, etc.)
  • Practice your interview skills so that you will be ready to go when an employer from the fair calls to invite you for an interview
  • Most importantly, HAVE FUN! Greet everyone with a smile and a firm handshake, and meet as many people as possible. If you have any questions, please visit the Career Development Center.

Have additional questions?

Schedule an Appointment