Every year, students across North America visit career fairs with a shared goal—to make a positive first impression with recruiters and land an interview. In such a fast-paced environment with minimal time, how can you stand out from the crowd?

Read our top tips below to arrive prepared and ready to make the most out of your next career fair.

Ready to apply? Check out our open roles and submit your application today.

Tip 1: Research the companies you’re interested in beforehand

The best first step is to gain insight into participating companies. Visit company websites, social medias, and review sites like Glassdoor so you can:

  • Focus on the booths of the companies you’re most interested in. Visit your top company booths first, then explore others if you have time.
  • Demonstrate interest in the companies you approach. Learn about their work and culture to show recruiters you want to build your career with them.

Tip 2: Don’t show up empty-handed

Be prepared with the following:

  • Hard copies of a scannable, updated resume to hand out.
  • A pen and notepad to document key points from conversations.
  • A folder, padfolio, or professional bag to hold your resume and any materials you collect.

Tip 3: Dress for your future role

Your career fair goal: make a lasting professional impression to attract recruiters.

Make sure your dress the part and consider business casual attire that is appropriate for the role you’re seeking.

Tip 4: Create an impactful 30-second speech

Recruiters speak with hundreds of students at career fairs. Develop a short yet detailed 30-second speech about yourself using this framework:

  • Introduction. Open with your name, where you’re from, the school you attend, etc.
  • Experiences and accomplishments. Showcase previous relevant experiences.
  • Goal. Tell the recruiter what you want to achieve by speaking with them.
  • Valuable skills. Share qualities and skills that make you a fit for the company.
  • Closing. Conclude by expressing how you’re excited about the possibility of working with the company.

Tip 5: Move with confidence

A career fair is like an interview! Show professionalism and confidence by:

  • Greeting recruiters and company representatives with eye contact, a friendly smile, and a handshake when comfortable.
  • Using open and inviting body language—uncross your arms, maintain straight posture, and angle your feet towards the person you’re speaking with.

Tip 6: Forget about one-sided conversations

Recruiters are interested in you and your experience, but don’t make the conversation one-sided.

Make sure you ask questions about:

  • The company.
  • The positions you’re interested in.
  • What they look for in a new hire.
  • Anything else that could help you decide if the company is a good fit for you.

Tip 7: Follow-up promptly with your connections

Don’t leave room for a recruiter to forget you or your conversation. Request the following from a recruiter and follow-up with a personalized message within 24 hours:

  • Business card
  • Email
  • To connect on LinkedIn

Tip 8: Don’t fixate on a single opportunity

Shoot for the stars and target the companies you want to work with! But be open to other opportunities that may come up. Your chances of landing an interview increase by approaching empty career booths and learning about unfamiliar companies.

Tip 9: Jumpstart your network

Embrace the connections you’re making, even if you don’t land the interview. These connections may:

  • Expand your professional network.
  • Help you pinpoint where you want to take your career.

Tip 10: Apply!

If you’ve discussed submitting your application with a recruiter, take action! The sooner you apply, the better your chances of being considered for the role.

Ready to put these tips into practice?

Use these tips at a career fair near you.

  • Visit your university’s website or career fair services office for details about upcoming fairs.
  • Check out Salas O’Brien’s career fair schedule.
  • Can’t attend a career fair? Head to our Careers page and apply for an internship or early career position.
John De Rosa

John De Rosa

A seasoned strategist, John De Rosa leads HR integration and programs for Salas O’Brien. Joining the firm during a transformative period, John has been instrumental in installing robust enterprise programs and streamlining internal systems to sustain Salas O’Brien’s fast-paced growth. A strong leader and team builder, John serves as Associate Vice President, Director HR Integration & Programs at Salas O’Brien. Contact him at [email protected].

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