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.
Tips for Success at the Fall Career and Internship Fair
Before the Fair:
- Clarify your goals and what you hope to get out of the fair. Do you want to get an idea about what a career fair is like? 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 companies or organizations in which you are most interested and research them online.
- Pack the appropriate amount of resumes (at least two per organization).
- Prepare and practice your two minute introduction to “pitch” to employers, and prepare questions to ask 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 reach out to employers after the fair.
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 attire is the best.
- Wear a clean pressed suit (pants or skirt).
If you do not own a suit:
- Clean pressed dress pants or skirt and a long sleeved light colored pressed shirt or blouse; or a dress.
- Ties and blazers are preferred.
- Wear comfortable closed toe dress shoes.
There are several Career Closet and discount professional wear events on campus. Make sure to check with your career services office and watch Handshake for these opportunities!
What to Bring to the Career Fair
- Multiple copies of your printed resume. Bring at least 20 copies, but but bring even more to the larger events where you might interact with a greater number of employers.
- 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 upcoming interviews, information sessions and other 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 – there are great opportunities everywhere. If a table is less crowded, you will have the opportunity to converse 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.
- Ask about the application process.
- 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.
- 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.
- Work with your Career Services Office and Student Life Career Counseling and Support Services. Follow the procedures established by them to participate in on-campus interviewing.