Career Fairs and Preparation
Each academic year, a number of Career Fairs are hosted at Ohio State. For your convenience, we have compiled a comprehensive list of fairs hosted on Ohio State campuses.
We offer weekly virtual career preparation workshops via Zoom. All workshops are open to all Ohio State undergraduates, graduate, professional and post-doctoral students.
Tips for Career Fair Success
View our Virtual Fair Digital Checklist (PDF).
Before the Fair
- Clarify your goals. Do you want to get an idea about what a career fair is like, or do you want to actively seek employment? What kinds of positions are you looking for (full-time, part-time, internship)? Are your expectations consistent with the purpose of the event?
- Determine the organizations in which you are most interested and research them online.
- If attending in-person, print the appropriate amount of resumes ahead of time (at least two per organization).
- Prepare and practice your introduction to “pitch” to employers, and prepare questions about the organization.
- Make sure you have an appropriate outfit for the event
- Update your professional online profiles (Handshake, LinkedIn) so that employers are seeing your most up-to-date information. This will also be a great way to connect with employers after the fair.
Possible Goals for the Career Fair
- Connect with employers to collect information, submit resumes or arrange interviews, including new, less familiar organizations and discover unexpected opportunities.
- Discuss job search strategies, interview and resume tips with recruiters.
- Find a summer internship.
- Develop a job search network – collect referrals to other departments/divisions within an organization.
- If you aren’t looking for employment currently, it can still be helpful to attend career fairs as practice for when you are ready.
What to Wear
Appearing neat, put together and professional will help you make a good first impression.
- Business professional or business casual attire is the best.
- There are several Career Closet and discount professional wear events on campus. Make sure to check with your career services office and check Handshake for these opportunities!
What to Bring to the Career Fair
- Multiple copies of your printed resume. Bring at least 20 copies, but bring even more to the larger events where you might interact with a greater number of employers. For a virtual event, have a Word or PDF copy of your resume on hand to quickly send to employers or screen share with them.
- Have your resume reviewed by a career counselor/advisor/consultant ahead of time.
- A portfolio or folder in which to carry your resumes and other materials.
- A notebook, planner (and a good pen) or your phone to record notes.
Prepare Your Two-Minute Introduction
- Introduce yourself.
- Demonstrate that you know something about the organization and the industry.
- Express why you are interested in that organization or industry.
- Relate your background to what you know about the organization’s needs.
Example: “Good morning. My name is ________ and I am a _____________major. What appeals to me about your company is_______. I am very interested in __________. As you can see from my resume I can offer you my ____________ that will make us a good fit.”
Example Questions to Ask:
- What career opportunities are available in your organization?
- What is the employment outlook in the field right now?
- What opportunities do you have for __________________majors?
- What type of training is available?
- What types of assignments are given?
- What do you look for in candidates?
- What key skills/experiences are highly desirable?
- Do you have any tips for success in this field?
Do not ask about salary or benefits.
- Take time to target organizations that interest you. But, also keep an open mind and consider companies you are not familiar with. If a table is less crowded, you will have the opportunity to speak longer with the representative.
- Be patient and anticipate crowds and lines. Try visiting the tables with fewer crowds first.
- Scan employers’ handouts. Instead of just getting in line, approach the table from the side to quietly pick up materials to review. Step back far enough to be able to listen to and observe recruiters speaking to other students. Determine if your two-minute introduction needs to be adjusted.
- Take initiative and introduce yourself with a smile and handshake.
- Give your resume to the representative. Launch into your two-minute introduction. Ask questions from the list you've prepared.
- Get a business card or a contact name from every person you meet. Write interesting facts, notes or additional contact names on the back of the card. Use this information to follow up after the fair.
- Many company tables have “freebies," such as pens, candy and toys. Be courteous and cautious when taking these items. If you take any candy or gum, save it for after the fair.
- Don’t play with the stress balls or other toys during the fair. Avoid taking every free item you see. It is noticeable by recruiters when a student seems to be attending the fair just for free items.
- If your schedule allows, arrive early. Be there when recruiters are fresh and attentive.
- If you are an international student don’t say that you need a job to stay in the US. Address the employer professionally and connect your skills to the needs of the company.
Following Up After the Fair
- Write a thank you note to each representative you spoke with. Include another resume and, if requested, any additional information.
- Reach out to the representatives you met through Handshake and LinkedIn to build your job search network.
- Continue to research the companies or organizations that you met at the fair.
- Complete and return the student career fair survey. Your comments are useful in planning future fairs.