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Attending a career fair is a great way to get your foot in the door and start meeting recruiters. Even if a specific company you are interested in isn’t going, you should always attend as many career fairs as you can. 

Career fairs will give you exposure to your industry and you may learn about job opportunities that you otherwise wouldn’t. Additionally, it is a great place to practice networking with other professionals.

In order to get the most value out of a career fair, here are three things you need to know:

Research

Before attending a career fair you need to do research on the companies attending the event. This will show recruiters you are serious about your future and that you are interested in the company. 

The primary reason you should research companies prior to attending is that you don’t want to waste time having recruiters explain to you what their company does. You only will be talking to recruiters for a couple of minutes, and in order to leave an impression, you want to use these minutes talking about your own goals in relation to the company. 

Here are some things to think about when you research: 

  • What the company does
  • The company culture
  • Available job openings you are interested in
  • Names of on-campus recruiters and others representing the company at the fair 
  • What interests you about the company
  • Where the company is located 

Question: If there is only one company I am actually interested in going to a career fair do I still need to research every company going?

Answer: You should still have a general idea of what all the companies do because you never know who you will end up talking to. If you end up talking to someone from a company you aren’t interested you still want to show you care about the company because after your conversation you could end up being interested. 

Professionalism

You want to arrive at the event professional and prepared. This means arriving early, wearing business attire, and having copies of your resume on you. Plan ahead how you will get to the event so that you arrive at least 5 minutes early. 

If the event specifies what attire to wear, be sure to follow that. However, if it does not specify you should still dress in appropriate business attire. It is always better to overdress rather than underdress. 

You should come with a folder of plenty of copies of your resume to hand out and your notes in case you need a refresher. If you have business cards you should bring these as well to hand out. 

Another aspect of professionalism is being appropriate. This means ensuring you dress, speak, and act appropriately. You want to be respectful and this means making sure you don’t do things like use curse words, socialize with friends, or make any offensive comments. 

Related Article: A Comprehensive Workplace Attire Guide

Follow Up

Recruiters will talk to so many students and even if you had a great conversation with someone, they probably still won’t remember your name. That is why follow up emails are extremely important. 

If you have the contact information from a business card or any other way, you should email the people you spoke with. A short email refreshing them on who you are, thanking them for speaking with you, and expressing what future opportunities you are interested in will show them that you valued speaking with them. 

For more advice on how to further your career, go to Upkey.com!
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