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University of North Texas

Division of Student Affairs

 

How to Network at a Career Fair

What is the purpose of a career fair or expo?

  • For employers to meet and screen a large number of potential job applicants at one time. 
  • For attendees to network well enough to increase chances of gaining a second face-to-face interview at the company’s site.

What you should expect

  • Anywhere from 20-80 employers from national and local companies or organizations from any particular industry. 
  • The majority of them will be looking to fill Internship positions, Part or Full Time positions, or all of the above.  Some may even be scheduling interviews that day. 
  • They will be looking for your resume or at least a business card.

What if I am not looking for a full time job yet?

  • You can use the fair or expo as an opportunity to explore careers in a particular industry or company to see what opportunities are available to you. 
  • You can also use it to build or expand your professional network so you have connections to call on when it does come time for you to look for a full time job. 
  • You could go to search for future internship possibilities, or you could ask employers to do a job shadow or even an informational interview. 
  • If nothing else, attending a career fair can help you practice marketing yourself to help you feel more confident and professional.

Before the fair

  • Visit http://studentaffairs.unt.edu/free-business-cards to submit a request for personalized business cards.  Allow 4 to 5 business days for cards to be made and they must be picked up in person.  Limit 60 cards per semester.
  • Get onto the Eagle Network and view the list of employers that are registered to attend the fair.  Narrow down the top 5 to 7 employers you would like to visit with. 
  • Use tools like www.GlassDoor.com, www.Vault.com, www.Hoovers.com, or www.WetFeet.com, as well as the organization’s website to review information about the company. 
  • Develop a tailored resume for each of the company’s you would like to visit and also prepare several copies of a general resume for other companies you may visit.
  • Prepare at least 3 to 4 questions that are specific to each company you want to visit with.
  • Bring a pad of paper and a pen to take notes and keep it all organized in a binder portfolio.
  • Choose a business professional outfit to wear.
  • Develop an Elevator Speech

During the fair

  • Arrive early to beat the crowd.
  • Create a name tag with your first and last name and your major.  Place it on the upper right had side of your chest.
  • Obtain a map of the fair, if available, and find the employers you have prepared for first, then network with other employers that seem interesting.
  • Be flexible. Your top choice of employers might be popular and there may be a long line to wait in to speak to the recruiter.  You can go talk to other employers and come back, or be patient and wait in line.
  • Be confident, give good eye contact and a firm handshake, Smile and show enthusiasm. Deliver your Elevator Speech.
  • Share your marketable qualifications that are relevant to the company that you have highlighted on your tailored resume.
  • Know how to answer the question “What are you here for today?”
  • Ask the questions you have prepared.
  • Ask for a business card and what you need to do to obtain a second interview.
  • Make notes about the conversation you have with each employer for later.

After the fair

  • Send a thank you to each employer you spoke with to thank them for taking the time to speak with you, either by sending a handwritten note, writing an email, or making a phone call.
  • Include details from your conversation and restate your interests and qualifications.
  • Follow up again a few days later