Career Fairs: Before, During, & After
The UCS offers a variety of career fairs throughout the year. Regardless of your major, year in college, or future goals, there are many benefits to attending a career fair.
When do Career Fairs Happen?
We typically host two virtual fairs each September and one in January. All IU career fairs are open to all IU students. Check out other fairs on campus for your target employers. See Kelley Connect for additional details.
Reasons to Attend a Career Fair:
- Investigate positions and career fields you could pursue with your major and background.
- Meet representatives from organizations with whom you are interested in working.
- Increase your chances of interviewing with an employer.
- Get more information about specific companies and positions.
- Develop and expand your network of contacts.
What to Expect at a Career Fair:
- Many companies will schedule interviews based on career fair interactions so making a positive impression is crucial.
- Employers expect you to be prepared (dress professionally, ask meaningful questions, have a polished resume, etc.).
- Employers expect to interact with students seeking job opportunities, as well as those simply researching careers and companies.
- An employer’s goal is to be exposed to as many job candidates as possible so expect to have a relatively short amount of time to sell yourself and make a positive impact.
Two Questions Never to ask at a Career Fair:
The research you conduct prior to attending the fair will help you find the answers to these two questions:
- What does your company do/make?
- What positions are you hiring for?
CAREER FAIR CHECKLIST
Before the Fair
- Prepare an error-free, one-page resume. Your resume should reflect your most current accomplishments, skills, and experiences. Have your resume reviewed by a UCS Coach.
- Prepare and practice your elevator pitch. You may deliver your pitch in several parts. Introduce yourself stating your name, major, and job goal (full-time or internship) at the beginning.
- Plan your strategy. Look at the list of participating companies in Kelley Connect select the top companies in which you have interest.
- Research your selected companies. Look at the company profile and positions each company is seeking to fill, which you can find on Handshake. Do more extensive research using the company’s own website or by utilizing research websites like Mergent Intellect, Marketline, or Dunn & Bradstreet through the IU Libraries website.
- Prepare insightful, meaningful questions. Ask the recruiter questions about the company based on your research or what you might want to know such as, “Please describe typical duties for interns in your firm.” or “What has been your career path within the company?”
- Dress professionally.
During the Fair
- Introduce yourself. Make appropriate small talk. Give the remainder of your elevator pitch at an appropriate point. Do NOT leave the recruiter without telling him or her why you are a good fit for the position/company. Ask the questions you prepared before the fair. Share what you learned about the position and the company from your research.
- Ask for the recruiter’s contact information. Write down their name and email, at minimum. Contact information on Handshake is limited and you may not be able to find their later.
- Thank the recruiter for their time. Express your interest in working for the company. After leaving, make notes on what you learned from the recruiter and what next steps you should take.
After the Fair
- Send thank-you messages. These can be emailed to each recruiter for companies in which you are still interested. Acknowledge the time they gave you while at the fair and repeat your interest in the company.
- Do any follow-up activity required. Complete the company’s online application and/or upload a resume and/or cover letter to the company website, as instructed by the recruiters.
- Check Handshake. Information regarding position postings and deadlines, as well as on-campus events with recruiters and UCS workshops are posted on Handshake. Do not forget to apply for positions as they are available. Some interviews may take place the day after the career fair so be prepared and know your availability.
- Execute your job search strategy. Use the networking advantage you have gained from career fair connections.