handshake button

CRS-8864_Fbutton.png

For Students

Career Fairs are a great way for job seekers to network, discuss employment opportunities and even snag an interview with a number of potential employers at once. To make the most of a career fair, job seekers need to make a positive first impression with a professional appearance, on-point resume and knowledge of the company or organization they are meeting with.

Learn how to turn your career fair contacts into an internship or full-time position by following these tips for before, during and after the career fair.
Preparation
Before the Career Fair
  • Polish your resume. Meet with a career consultant to get your resume in its best shape. Make copies on professional resume paper.
  • Do your homework. Review and identify the companies you want to meet. Research each company’s goals, products, and mission until you are able to discuss them comfortably and have formed educated questions to ask the recruiter. The more you know about the company, the more they will want to get to know you. 
  • Look the part. This is the first impression an employer will have of you. Make sure to dress professionally and avoid casual clothes. 
  • Practice your intro. Employers want to know about you before considering you for a position. Start with your name, major, year in school, and whether you are seeking a full-time job or an internship. Highlight the key skills you can offer the organization and show that you have done your research. Practice your handshake until you feel confident.

During the Career Fair
  • Be on time. Or better yet, arrive early so you have time to meet with multiple employers.
  • Have a strategy. Determine which companies you want to talk to first, and try to meet with every company that fits your experience and ambitions. Watch out for long lines and make sure you have time to meet with your first choice employers. 
  • Use positive body language. Smile, look people in the eye, offer a firm handshake and introduce yourself confidently. Practice good posture with your shoulders back, and act interested, focused and enthusiastic. 
  • Ask questions. Intelligent and open-ended questions show recruiters that you know about their company, available positions and how your skills fit within their organization. Be sure to ask the recruiter how to apply, if the company is interviewing on campus, and how to be considered.
  • Take notes. Make sure you write down the names of representatives and hiring managers, as well as next steps, specific employer information, on-campus interviewing and projected hiring dates. Ask for the recruiter’s business card to follow up with.
  • Respect the booth. Keep your focus on networking rather than giveaways, and check with employers before taking materials from their tables.
  • Be courteous. Recruiters are interested in OU students and alumni, and want to meet a broad range of job seekers. Keep your interactions brief and to the point so recruiters can meet with other candidates in their line.

After the Career Fair
  • Send a brief “thank you” note or e-mail. This will help the employer remember you and place you at the top of their list.
  • Take the next steps. Follow through on the next steps to be considered for a position. Sign up for on-campus interviews if available.
  • Go online to apply. Some employers do not accept resumes at career fairs and require candidates to apply online. Applying online lets you know that your resume is in the company’s hands and that it is under consideration by hiring managers. It also allows you to learn about the application process, verify job requirements, and learn how to make your resume stand out. 
  • Schedule an appointment with a Career Consultant. We can offer advice and conduct a mock interview.
  • Be patient and stay on track. Recruiters do not always respond right away.

What to Bring
  • Resumes and more resumes. Bring enough copies for each company you targeted, and a few extra just in case.
  • Abandon your backpack and bring a professional briefcase or portfolio to showcase your work and skills, and to keep new materials organized. 
  • Breath mints keep you fresh while networking, but avoid drinks or chewing gum.
  • Keep pen and paper handy to take notes.
  • Turn off your cell phone.

What to Wear
  • Plan a professional outfit that is clean and pressed. Remove any lint, strings or tags. Make sure your shoes are polished and wear socks or stockings.
  • Focus on conservative colors like black, navy, grey or brown.
  • Minimize your accessories and avoid distracting jewelry or patterns. Neckties should have subtle colors or patterns, and belts should be black or match your shoes.
  • Men should keep their facial hair neat and trimmed. 
  • Women should keep their make-up natural and use clear or neutral nail polish colors. 
  • Avoid wearing strong perfumes or colognes.
  • Cover up tattoos and remove facial piercings.