Be yourself! Confidence, a positive attitude, and willingness to learn can go a long way. Make eye contact, give a firm handshake, and be respectful in your body language. Dress professionally and bring copies of your resume and business/artist cards.
Make sure your portfolio is portable, neat, and begins and ends strong. Include only your best work and be sure to have pieces that reflect the type of position you are applying for. You can choose to tailor your samples to one specific industry or show a breadth of your talent, depending on the type of employers you are targeting at the fair. Be prepared to discuss each piece.
Know the employers you want to speak with and research them using the Internship + Career Fair blog and the employer’s website. Look for the About Us, Mission, or Philosophy pages to learn more about the size and scope of the organization. Is the company regional, national, international? Where are they located and who are their clients or customers? What trends are happening in this industry? What is their mission/purpose?
When you approach a table, introduce yourself, share what position you are interested in, give the person your resume, and answer any questions they have for you, including showing them your portfolio. Also prepare 2-3 questions for each employer for any lull in the conversation. This setting is for you to learn more about them too! Some sample questions you could ask are:
- What qualities are you looking for in the person you hire for this position?
- Can you tell me more about the specific job responsibilities of this position?
- What are the new directions your organization is going in? What are your next big projects?
- What is one of your biggest challenges currently?
- What is the work environment like?
DON’T Ask at the Fair:
- What does your company do? (you should know)
- How much will I be making? (appropriate to discuss before you accept an offer)
- What is the vacation/leave time like? (appropriate to discuss before you accept an offer)
Take breaks between visiting tables and refocus yourself for your next conversation. Career Center staff will be on hand to give you a quick pep talk.
Don’t feel like you have to accept any position if offered on the spot. Thank them graciously for the offer, reiterate your interest, but ask if you can send them an email the following day.
Follow up all of your conversations with a thank you note via email or mail, within 48 hours, reinforcing your interest in the position. Get the business card of the person you spoke with, or write down their name so that you can research their contact information later. You may be judged on whether or not you do this, it’s important! So, bring a notepad and take notes!
Be honest, don’t lie about your skills or qualifications to get a job. But learn to “spin” your weak areas into areas for you to grow. Share your enthusiasm to learn, or discuss a project/program you are currently working on to improve in this area.
Be courteous, polite, and positive! Smile!