What Should I Bring to a Career Fair?

B. Miller
B. Miller
Students are encouraged to dress professionally and bring polished resumes to hand out to potential employers at a college career fair.
Students are encouraged to dress professionally and bring polished resumes to hand out to potential employers at a college career fair.

Preparing in advance for a career fair is important to be sure you make the most of potential opportunities, and ideally walk away with the promise of a formal job interview or two. Ideally, you should bring a number of copies of your resume to the career fair, tailored to individual companies if possible. You might also want to bring some business cards for quick introductions, or even examples of your past work if you get into longer conversations with a recruiter. Your appearance at an event like this is important as well, so be sure to dress professionally, and look as if you are ready and responsible enough for any potential job.

In many cases, it is usually possible to research the companies that will be represented at a career fair in advance. If you do this, you might be able to discover some specific companies that you are especially interested in working with, and can do additional research into those companies to be even more prepared when you meet that company at the event. You can also then tailor your resume to each specific companies, and highlight the areas of your experience that are most relevant to them; if you do this, though, just be certain to clearly label them, so that you distribute each one to the correct recipient.

Aside from polished copies of your resume, you should also bring some business cards to a career fair. Keep in mind that networking is an important aspect of a career fair, and you might meet other professionals in your field that you would like to exchange information with. It would not be appropriate to give a resume to these people, but a business card can help them to place a name with a face, and might be beneficial to you down the road. Depending upon your specialty, a brief portfolio of work might be useful to show recruiters if the meeting seems to be going especially well.

It is key to be your best self at a career fair. Of course, dressing professionally in business attire, and being neatly groomed is important, but it is also important to practice how you will speak to people, and how you will express your career goals. Some people choose to prepare a brief 30-second introduction where they introduce themselves, and state a brief bit about their experiences, education, or career goals. A prepared introduction like this can be a great way to demonstrate your enthusiasm for a job, but it is important to know yourself; some people sound more natural speaking off the cuff.

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    • Students are encouraged to dress professionally and bring polished resumes to hand out to potential employers at a college career fair.
      By: Jenner
      Students are encouraged to dress professionally and bring polished resumes to hand out to potential employers at a college career fair.