Career Fair Strategies

Most Career Fairs are excellent opportunities for you to gather information about career fields and specific organizations.

A Career Fair is designed so you can have informal conversations with employer representatives about career opportunities. All OC undergraduates and graduate students are welcome to Career Fairs. We post Career Fair info to the Announcements section on myOC as well as to the “Upcoming Events” page here on our Career Services site.

Helpful hints:

  • Do not hesitate to approach a representative or join a group already in discussion. This shows you are confident and comfortable discussing your field of study.
  • Feel free to take notes, pick up any printed materials available, and ask for business cards, so you can add to your networking folder.
  • You can go with or without a resume. You are encouraged to go to the Career Fair to learn, but most employers accept resumes for their current or future employee needs.

How to prepare:

  • Check the employer list in advance to identify which organizations you’d like to speak with. At larger Career Fairs, map out the building and make an outline of where you will attend first so you’re not going in circles.
  • If you plan to bring your resume, have it critiqued in advance and bring multiple copies.
  • Prepare and rehearse a 30-60 second summary in order to introduce yourself and express your interest in the organization, and your desire to know more.
  • Prepare questions you want to ask employers.

Sample questions to ask:

  • What entry-level opportunities are available in your organization?
  • What particular qualifications do you seek in your employees?
  • Do you look for specific academic backgrounds or skills?
  • What is the culture of your organization?
  • What directions do you see for your company in the future?
  • What advice do you have for me, as someone interested in this career field and/or organization?
  • Does your organization offer internships, if so, how do I apply?

At the Career Fair:

  • Dress appropriately (see Dress for Success 101)
  • Give a firm handshake
  • Make your resume easy to locate (carry them in a folder or briefcase)
  • Maintain eye contact
  • Speak clearly and concisely
  • Show enthusiasm
  • Don’t forget to smile!

After you meet with employers:

  • To follow up successfully, ask for a business card. Use the back to jot down a quick note about follow-up steps or a reminder about the conversation.
  • If you are interested in following up with an employer, send a thank-you note within 24-48 hours (it may be sent by e-mail). You can include a copy of your resume and express the desire to learn more ... or that you want to apply and would like the opportunity to interview.