Career Fair Success

Make the most of a Career Fair/Expo by preparing for this important networking event ahead of time.  Review the following keys to successful attendance and visit your Career Coach at Career Services for any additional questions and advice. Whether you are a freshman or a PhD candidate, sure of your academic major or not, Utah State’s Fairs/Expos can serve as a valuable resource to explore careers and seek employment. Students attend Fairs/Expos to:

  • Explore different career fields by visiting with a large number of employers from all types of agencies and organizations -- in one place at one time.  Each Fair/Expo targets specific types of organizations.
  • Talk with recruiters about the variety of career paths available.
  • Gain insights from the employer about internships or career positions.
  • Find out how to apply for open positions and schedule on-campus interviews the next day (if the employer is holding them).
  • Expand your network of employer contacts.
Six Steps to Fair/Expo Success

Depending on your interest in exploring careers versus obtaining an internship/career position, follow these six steps in preparing for a successful Fair/Expo experience:

Step 1 - Research Organizations

View the list of employers attending the Fair/Expo online and identify those you are most interested in approaching.  A quick visit to these organizations’ web sites to review their mission statements, operations, and typical job openings will help you decide.

Step 2 - Prepare your Resume

Although a targeted resume works best when applying for employment, a general resume which provides a broad overview of your experiences and skills works well for Fairs/Expos.  You need not include an objective statement but can use one if you are targeting your priority employers with a customized resume.
Drop-in resume edits are available daily at Career Services from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. and other times by appointment.  You can also create a student business card on our web site.

Step 3 - Dress for Success

Dress PROFESSIONALLY!  You cannot undervalue a first impression; consider coming prepared for the job you hope to get.  Business casual is recommended; for tips on business casual and formal dress.

Step 4 - Prepare your Approach & Introduction

Name badges are available at the entrance to all Fairs/Expos and employers prefer seeing your name, major, and graduation date before you even begin talking with them!  Employers expect you to walk up and introduce yourself.  This may feel uncomfortable at first, but with practice you will get used to doing it and doing it well!  Remember, recruiters are at the Fair/Expo to meet you.

Sample Introduction:  “Hello, my name is Jon; it is very nice to meet you.  I am a senior working on a BS in English with experience and coursework in technical writing.  I would like to know how I might use these skills within your organization as an intern."

Step 5 - Ask Questions

The process of researching organizations will likely make you think of questions you would like to ask recruiters when you meet them at Fairs/Expos. 

Step 6 - Follow-up

Once you make a great first impression, keep the ball rolling with effective follow-up!  You can do this through email, phone, or the mail and should be done within a few weeks of the event.  Your message should include another thank you, state your interest in pursuing a position with their organization (now or in the future), and request an opportunity to meet again to discuss your qualifications in greater detail.  Once you have completed an online application, let this contact know.

SEE YOU AT THE FAIR!

Dress For Success

As you seek employment, every advantage you can get is important -- especially that first impression! The following are a few suggestions for business casual and formal attire.

Business Casual – for LESS traditional/conservative fields

For Women: a skirt (not too long or too short) or nice pants with a blouse or sweater is appropriate. Avoid shorts, sneakers, t-shirts, and too much jewelry, and remember good grooming.

For Men: a shirt with a collar that buttons is best though a nice polo shirt is acceptable with slacks, not jeans. Avoid shorts, t-shirts, sneakers, and remember good grooming.

Formal Dress – for MORE traditional/ conservative fields

For Women: A suit with a knee-length skirt or pants and blouse. A skirt or pants with a blouse and no jacket or a day dress that is structured and not too dressy is also acceptable. Shoes should be appropriate to the outfit and heels should not be too high.

For Men: A suit and tie is best with dress shoes. A long-sleeved dress shirt with a tie and no jacket is also acceptable.