Career Fair 101

If you’re thinking of attending a career fair this week and have some unwanted butterflies in your stomach, you’re not alone! Whether it’s your first career fair or your third, shaking hands and putting your best self out there can be nerve-wracking. Here are five quick tips to help you make the most of your next career fair from someone who has lived it.

1. Do your research
Look up which companies are attending the fair, and pick the ones you know you want to visit. Seeing 50+ companies at once can be a bit overwhelming. Going in with a game plan can organize your visit and save you lots of time. You’re also bound to be waiting in lines, so make your wait worth it!

2. Dress for success
This is your chance to make a first impression. Dressing professionally in interview attire is a great way to look the part. It’s also a handy trick to make your brain believe you’re in a formal setting and will bring out that professional attitude.

3. Have a list of questions handy
You don’t want to show up in front of the recruiter with a generic “so tell me what you do and what jobs you have.” Ask more thoughtful questions that will engage the recruiter in your conversation. For example, ask a recruiter about the skills they look for in potential candidates, or what the career path looks like for someone in the company five years down the road.

4. Come with a brief elevator pitch
The recruiter is likely looking to learn a little bit about you, too. When you introduce yourself, share a brief elevator pitch that can help you stand out. Your elevator pitch should include your name, major and past experience in a nutshell. Most importantly, share what you learned from your past experiences and why you think those skills are important in the career field/position you are looking at.

5. Ask for the recruiter’s business card
Asking to leave your resume is always awkward. So, open the door by asking recruiters for their business card. They may ask you for a resume or a business card in exchange. Either way, you have a contact at the company that you can reach out to later and start setting up your network.

Don’t miss all the fairs during Career Week and the Syracuse University Career and Internship Fair this Thursday, Jan. 31, in Schine Student Center, Goldstein Auditorium from 3 to 6:00 p.m.

Written by Ankita Varman ’19, S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications and Martin J. Whitman School of Management