A career fair is an event for employers to meet with students who seek internships or jobs. Boston University holds many on-campus career fairs during the academic year. Some fairs invite all-majors and some are more specialized for specific schools and/or majors. At a career fair, you can speak with employers to learn more about internship and job opportunities. Even if you are not currently seeking employment, a career fair is a great place to network in-person with employers for future contacts.
The key to success at a career fair is to effectively talk about or ‘pitch’ yourself to the employer so they will remember you and want to continue the relationship with you.
Don’t worry if you’ve never been to a career fair or talked with an employer; employers who attend are welcoming and eager to learn about YOU!
Below are some tips to help you talk to employers:
Before the career fair:
- Research organizations you are interested in before the fair. Learn about their products, services, specifics of the position(s), etc. Look up information on handshake, company websites and social media channels for information.
- Prepare a brief introduction of yourself, a 30-60 second ‘pitch’ including your name, school, graduation date, major(s), and what type of internship or job interests you.
- Tell them you are happy to have the opportunity to talk with them about your career interests, and how your course work, extracurricular activities, skills and experience would fit in with the position.
- Make sure you include SOMETHING in your pitch that you learned about their company, and why you are interested in working there. They will be impressed that you have done your homework.
- Prepare some questions to ask the employer. For example:
- What skills are they seeking in an ideal candidate?
- What skills and experience are required for the specific internship or job?
- What are opportunities for advancement within the organization?
At the career fair:
- Approach an employer with a firm handshake and a smile. Make eye contact, speak clearly, and go through your ‘pitch’ making it as conversational as possible.
- Show your confidence and your personality when you speak since this will be the first impression you will make with the employer, and first impressions do count!
- Respect the employer’s time, especially if the line if long.
- Ask if you may leave your resume, if they haven’t asked for it.
- Thank the employer and ask for their business card. If they don’t have one, ask for their name and email.
- Find out about the process for follow-up, i.e., is there an online application process, are the positions posted in handshake, etc.
After the Career Fair:
- Keep in touch with the employer!
- When it’s time to wrap up your conversation, thank the recruiters for their time. If you have any final questions, ask them now.
- In addition, ask them how you should move forward with the application process and the best way for you to stay in touch with them. Some of them will refer you to their company website if they have an online application process, while others may ask for a paper copy of your resume, so bring some copies.
- Give yourself a ‘pat on the back’ for taking the initiative to talk to an employer in-person!