How to Make an Impression at a Career Fair

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Students who shine at career fairs are few and far between. Here’s how to take this valuable campus resource and use it to build a priceless network and job opportunities.

For detailed advice from seasoned career coach, Courtney-Young Law, watch our career fair webinar.

1. Crucial (But Simple) Ways to Prepare

  • Introduce yourself to target employers, but don’t forget to be explorative when browsing contacts.
  • Dress professionally. Some organizations expect suits, others expect business casual. Regardless, dress the part. Use your gut instinct to figure out what counts as dressing for the job.
  • Order your own business cards. It’s relatively cheap. Include your Linkedin, so they can see the most relevant information, instead of referencing an old, outdated resume.

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2. How to Have the Best Introductory Statement Ever

  • Answer this key statements in less than 25 words: Who are you? A concise statement about you that clearly shares who you are and what you’re looking for.
  • What do you want? What do you want to learn? What skills do you want to use? It is really rare for someone to come and articulate what he or she wants. Employers are looking for students who know what they want, and know how to confidently communicate that.

3. How to Make an Impression and Stand Out from the Crowd

  • Make your message pop, make it powerful, and make it unique.
  • Be authentic. Say what you would normally say to your closest friends about your dreams, and what you want to do.
  • Don’t be too broad (an employer might not know where you fit in the organization). Don’t be too specific (you may limit the possibilities within the organization).
  • Be passionate: if you aren’t excited about what you’re saying, then the people who are listening to you won’t be either. “I’m kind of interested in…” doesn’t impress any employer.

4. How to Follow-Up

  • Make sure to follow up with a specific ask. The ask might be an informational interview, it might be to apply for the position, it might be a referral that they had mentioned.
  • Remind them who you are, if there was something specific you mentioned to them, reiterate it in the email so that they have a clear picture of who you are.
  • Know why you are sending the email and be clear about how that person can help you.
  • Give them 3-5 days to respond. If they don’t respond, call them with the business card you got from them at the career fair.
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