Career fairs offer opportunities for those seeking career information and actual positions to meet face-to-face with a variety of employers. Career Services hosts several career fairs on campus, or nearby, which offer convenient access to a wide range of employers. Take advantage of these opportunities to find out more about employers and develop contacts that could be helpful to you now and in the future.
1. Find out who’s coming and research employers before the fair. Check TigerTracks to see which organizations have registered for the fairs at Princeton. Take time to research organizations that pique your interest. Try to determine the types of skills the employer may be looking for and think of ways that your background matches the needs of the organization. Based on your research, come up with a few questions to ask the recruiters you meet at the fair. The more you know about an organization, the better your questions can be. Depending on the situation, you can ask questions similar to those used in informational interviews. While the representatives may not know all of the answers to your questions, they should be able to direct you to other resources or people, if necessary.
2. Develop your introduction or “elevator pitch”. The idea of an “elevator pitch” is that if you were to suddenly find yourself riding an elevator with an executive who could hire you for your dream job, you would need to succinctly and effectively introduce yourself in the time it would take to get to the next floor. This 30-second introduction can be useful at fairs and other networking events. It should reflect your career interests and identify a few key selling points based on your qualifications to pique the interest of the employer.
3. Dress to impress. Know what to wear
. Students actively seeking positions frequently wear interview attire, but students may also choose to dress in business casual. Either way, make sure you look polished and professional.
4. Bring several copies of your updated resume.
While some employers may direct you to apply through their website instead of accepting your paper resume
at the fair, it is still a good idea to have copies on hand to help employers understand your qualifications and experience at a glance. Having a portfolio to hold resumes and jot notes after each conversation is also a good way to stay organized.
5. Plan your approach and meet and greet with confidence. Look over the floor plan to determine where each employer table is located and decide the order in which you will approach the employers you are most interested in. If you have jotted down some notes based on your prior research, you may wish to consult this information before you visit each table. Greet each employer with a firm handshake and a smile, using good eye contact. Use your introduction and then enter into a conversation with the recruiter by making sure you ask questions as well as answer them.
6. Follow up with employers.
At the end of each conversation, don’t forget to ask for a business card from the recruiter. Also, be sure to find out how and when you can apply to positions. Within a few days of the fair, send a follow-up email (along the lines of a thank-you note
) to the recruiters you met with. Depending on their timeline for interviewing and hiring, you may need to also follow up on information or resources the recruiter provided. Be sure to let the recruiter know if you have reached out to any of the other company contacts they referred you to. Lastly, take a look at the material you collected at the fair; you may find that you neglected to consider some organizations that might actually be a good fit for you. Use the contact information provided in the career fair guidebook to approach other employers you did not have the opportunity to speak with the day of the fair.