Career Fair Preparation
Prepare to Sell Yourself
Know the employers:
- Visit the Career Development homepage and click on the event you are attending to access the participating list of employers.
- Focus on researching the employers that interest you the most and go to the fair knowing something about each of the companies.
Know what you want:
- Deciding on positions and/or departments you are interested in can be accomplished by doing your research on a company. Saying “I’ll take anything,” or “I don’t know,” to a recruiter shows a lack of research. Knowing what you want shows initiative.
Prepare and practice:
- Practice how you will introduce yourself to each employer. Rehearse your responses to common questions like, “Tell me about yourself” or “Why would you like to work for us?”
- Have copies of your résumé, references, and transcripts. Create a list of questions you want to ask the employers.
Dress for success:
- This is your first impression on the employer- you want to look like a professional. Go dressed as if you were interviewing for a position with them. For examples and guidelines check out the “What to Wear” tab.
What to bring:
- Bring a portfolio with multiple copies of your résumé, references, and transcripts. Get help creating a résumé.
- If you want your resume critiqued, you can set up an appointment with one of our staff members and they will be happy to look over your résumé.
Arriving at the fair:
- Conduct yourself professionally at all times. Recruiters may be watching you as you stand in line or move around the fair.
- Make sure you leave your coat, backpack, and other gear in your car or at the sign-in table.
- Don’t arrive 30 mins before the end of the day and expect to talk to employers. Come early while employers are fresh- and hit the booths of employers you are most interested in working for first.
Approaching a potential employer:
- Give them a firm handshake and a positive attitude.
- Greet each employer with a smile and introduce yourself with a 30-second sales pitch- your name, major, and career interests as they relate to their company.
Conversation with a potential employer:
- Focus on what you can do for the employer, not what you want from them. Listen to questions carefully and thoughtfully respond to what is being asked. If you are uncertain of what is being asked, clarify the question before responding.
- Respond to questions honestly and don’t forget to ask your prepared questions, if they have not answered them yet.
Ending the conversation with a potential employer:
- Ask about their hiring process, its timelines, and determine if an actual or potential opening exists. If you want to pursue a job or internship with the employer, ask about what to do next.
- Ask for business cards of each person you talk to or write down their name and contact information.
- At the end of the conversation, give them a firm handshake and express your appreciation to the employer by using the interviewer’s name. Walk away with confidence because the employer may still be watching you.
After talking with a potential employer:
- Go to a quiet area to write down your impressions, notes on topics of conversation, contact names, and follow-up procedures.
- Store all of their information in your portfolio or folder.
- Go to the next employer on your list, if there is a line go to the next employer because you can always go back to that employer later. If you have extra time, talk to employers not on your planned list.
Write a thank-you note:
- Write a brief thank you note to the employers you interacted with. Some employers prefer notes by mail, some are happy for an emailed thank you. Check with ASU Career Development for advice on which type of note to send.
Complete any online applications requested:
- Complete online applications even if you left a résumé behind. Filling out an online application ensures that your data is in the employer’s database and with the information you prefer.
- Follow-up as needed to maintain lines of communication. Call to determine if the employer has received your application materials, to check on the status of vacant positions, and to express your continued interest.
- Revise your résumé and interviewing approaches using feedback received from employers. You can also set up a mock interview appointment with a career counselor.
- Research the company/school/district before attending the fair.
- Professionally present yourself - from start to finish!
- Triple check your résumé for grammar and spelling errors; ensure contact information is current and it’s printed on high-quality paper.
- Do not be offended if a recruiter does not take your resume.
- Keep an open mind. Be willing to consider all options. Sometimes the best “fit” may not be your first choice.
- Relax and have a list of well-thought-out questions.
- Ask for a business card; take notes after you leave a booth to write down the main points of your conversation and when you should make contact.
- Stay in contact with the recruiters with companies/schools/districts in which you are interested.
- Bring a master copy of your transcript, letters of reference, or names/phone numbers/addresses of 3-4 references.
- Dress for success; be prepared to talk about your successes and accomplishments.
- Do a Mock Interview or practice answering interview questions before attending.
- Talk to as many recruiters as you can at the fair. Don’t just skip over organizations because you aren’t sure what they do.
- Be confident! Know what you want, but be flexible.
Test your equipment:
- A few days before the fair, test your connection speed, camera, and microphone. Make sure you have the most recent Java and Flash software.
- If you do not have a computer with a high-speed connection, find a place that does, like a public library, school library, or the Career Development office.
Find your fit:
- Just like an actual job fair – do your research. Research the employers that will be attending the virtual job fair.
- Read the job descriptions and develop a list of keywords and phrases used by each employer so that you can use them to help you succeed.
Create a resume:
- You may be able to upload a version of your resume before the career fair, make sure the resume is focused on the job you are seeking.
- For targeted employers, develop a tailored resume using keywords you found in the previous tip.
Prepare responses to interview questions:
- Your goal is to chat one-on-one with employers.
- You should prepare short accomplishment stores and responses to common interview questions.
- Practice your response, and write out an outline of what you want to say.
- Keep responses brief, and use the keywords you found in the second tip.
Dress for success:
- Not all virtual career fairs offer video chat with employers, but dressing professionally will help keep you in the job-hunting mindset.
- The way you dress is not the only thing you should keep professional, be sure to write in full sentences in the text chat, avoid slang or emoticons, and watch your spelling.
Treat the job fair like an interview and wear a suit or other appropriate attire for your level and industry. Don’t make the mistake of dressing like you would on the job. In many cases, you can dress more casually on the job than you should for a job fair or interview. When in doubt, remember it is always better to be overdressed rather than underdressed.
- Clothes should be clean, pressed, and fit and/or skim over the body
- Solid or subtle patterns in neutral colors
- Polish shoes – professional but comfortable
- Minimal jewelry and no overpowering cologne/perfume
- Be aware of your body language, speech, and nervous habits
- Hair should be clean and maintained (including facial hair)
- Have clean fingernails
- Remove gum before talking with an employer
- Nice briefcase or portfolio to hold papers
- Wear a great attitude and maintain good posture
- Matching jacket and pant
- Sports coat or blazer
- Dress/button-up shirt (with or without a tie)
- Nice polo (tucked in)
- Sweater or sweater vest
- NO stains or wrinkles
- Nice khakis or dress pants (pressed & not baggy)
- NO jeans, cargo pants, shorts, or sweats
- Wingtips, loafers, or boat shoes
- NO sneakers or white tube socks
- Slacks or skirt
- Tailored shirt, blouse, structured sweater, or knit top
- Cover the midriff
- NO skin-tight, low-cut or glitter
- Khakis or dress pants (pressed)
- Skirts should be at least knee-length or 2 inches above the knee
- NO jeans, denim, or capris
Shoes & Hose:
- Flat or low heel (3” or lower)
- Hose are optional
- NO strappy shoes or sandals
Questions to Ask Employers
Here is a list of suggested question to help you get started:
- What skills/experience do you look for in the employees you hire?
- What are the characteristics of your most successful employees?
- Are graduate degrees important to advancing within your organization? Which ones?
- Which courses/experiences do you suggest to be a successful candidate?
- What entry-level positions (or internships) exist within your organization?
- Does your company hire throughout the year?
- How long does the hiring process take? What does it consist of?
- What percent of applicants are hired? What is the retention rate?
- Are there specific career tracks within the organization?
- What is your organization’s culture like?
- What is a day like in this position?
- Are there opportunities for training through your organization?
- How is performance evaluated? How often?
- What professional societies or associations should I join?
- Are employees expected to relocate? Travel?
- What made you choose this company and why do you stay?
- How long have you been with the company?
- What is the one thing that most surprised you about this company?
Asking insightful questions of recruiters will set you apart from the competition. Which questions you ask depends on the recruiter, on your interest and knowledge of the school district, and how much time you have with the recruiter.
- What skills/experience do you look for in the teachers you hire?
- What are the characteristics of your most successful teachers?
- What are you most proud of about your school/district?
- What would faculty, students, and parents say are the strengths of your school/district?
- What were your school’s goals for last year?
- How do teachers integrate technology into the classroom?
- How long does the hiring process take? What does it consist of?
- What priorities would you have for me as a new faculty member?
- Do you offer a mentoring program?
- How does your school/district support professional development?
- What extracurricular activity opportunities might be available?
- What made you choose this school district and why do you stay?
- How long have you been with the district?
- What’s the one thing that most surprised you about this school district?
Networking can increase your chances of finding employers who are hiring. Listed below are some social media websites that may help you to expand your networking skills.
Watch the video below to learn more about using social media sites for job searching:
Video by CandidCareer.com
Job Fair Tips
Learn how to Be a Hit at the Job Fair by reading these tips.