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