By: Priscilla Akpabio, Peer Career Coach

Before attending a career fair there should be a mental checklist you go through to make sure you have everything and are fully prepared. Our office has gone ahead to create this list and help make it easier for students. I will be going through this list and offering a brief explanation on why each item is important.

Research Companies on Handshake: First thing you need to do before attending a career fair is do your research about all the companies coming. There are typically a lot of companies present at a career fair, you have to weed through and find out what companies you are interested in. After deciding what companies you are interested in, it is also advisable to do research on them. Know what their mission and values are and if they align with yours, look through job openings and see what qualifications they require. Also think about your non negotiables ( e.g  location, sponsorship for international students). It is also a plus if you know what exactly a company does and why you are interested in them. It shows a recruiter that you have done your homework and are fully prepared. 

Prepare your interview materials ( Resume, Cover letter, LinkedIn, Github etc): It is always recommended to come to a career fair fully prepared. Make sure your resume and cover letter have been thoroughly reviewed for spelling or grammatical errors. Career service office is delighted to help with this during our drop in hours or by appointment. 

Make an elevator pitch: An elevator pitch is a brief, persuasive run down on who you are and why you are a good candidate for a certain company. They are typically thirty seconds to a minute long. An elevator pitch is the first thing you say when a recruiter says “tell me about yourself.” It is your first impression so you have to have a well thought out and well constructed elevator pitch. When creating this think about what makes you standout from amongst your peers. Think about what you are passionate about and why you are interested in working for this company. 

Plan a Follow-up strategy: This is where you think  about how to reach out to recruiters and build networks after the career fair. This could via email or Linkedin. Having a clear plan of execution is important, it helps maintain structure. 

Additional Tips: Be creative and  confident while being yourself. Focus on the genuine connections, show your knowledge of the company, also showcase what makes you different. 

How to Prep for the Career Fair