Top tips to excel at a career fair

April 19, 2019

Year-round, ASU hosts many different career fairs, from major-specific events to university-wide fairs. ASU career fairs can gather more than 100 employers in one place. But how can students make sure they’re making the most of the opportunity?

ASU Student Life spoke with Ashley Hew, a career peer at ASU Career and Professional Development Services, to find out how to maximize their success at career fairs.

ASU Career Fair Tempe spring 2019

The 2019 spring career fair at ASU's Tempe campus

 

 

Why should I go to an ASU career fair?

Career fairs are the largest opportunities on campus where students can network with employers and gain experience in giving 60-second pitches (a quick introduction about who you are and what you’re looking for professionally.)

The university-wide career fair happens every semester and is sponsored by Career Services. There are also school-based career fairs, such as the W. P. Carey and Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering career fairs.

Top employers come out and recruit ASU’s talent in fields such as sales, marketing, engineering, finance and more. The career fair is the easiest way to get an on-campus interview and score a desired internship or full-time position at your dream company.

What should I do to prepare for a career fair?

Bring 10 or more copies of your resume to give to employers you talk to and are interested in working for. Get your best business professional outfit all ready to go — maybe add something like a pitchfork pin to your blazer for a finishing touch!

Research the companies you know will be there. [The list of participants is publicized ahead of time.] You can also send your resume into the ASU Resume Dropbox and get a fully edited resume back within three to four days.

Additionally, you can meet with a career peer or advisor at Career Services (there’s an office at every campus) a few weeks beforehand in order to prepare yourself for success.

What should I say to employers at the fair?

Here are some ideas for what to talk about with employers:

  • A quick intro: your name, your major, your year in school, your passions

  • Plans for the future: “I’m interested in a career in ___ industry because ____.”

  • Steps you have already taken: "Last summer I interned at ___” or “On campus, I am a member of___” or “The classes I am taking have taught me ___."

  • How the company they represent fits you and your plan: “This summer I would like to work here because ___” or “I see myself here after graduation because___.”

What are some do’s and don’ts students should know about?

Do

  • bring your resume

  • dress business professional

  • use the bag drop off (you can drop off your backpack)

  • bring a professional looking folder or padfolio

  • bring water

  • make and update your LinkedIn and Handshake

  • clean up your social media accounts

  • research the companies attending

 

Don’t

  • have a bad attitude

  • be impatient

  • be nervous — you are qualified and who they are looking for

  • talk about anything inappropriate

 

If I’ve never been to a career fair before, what should I expect?

First, you will check in with your ASU ID and get a name tag. Then, make sure you check your bags so you aren’t carrying around excess stuff. Each employer has a booth, and all students walk around looking to talk to employers.

Some employers will approach you first and some you have to approach first. Some employers will have long lines to fill out an informational document (email, year in school, etc.) so don’t worry about having to wait. Think of something you can share that will impress the employer and make you a memorable candidate.

How can the career fair help me if I’m not looking for a job or an internship?

The career fair will help you with conversational skills, help boost your confidence, and give you the opportunity to see what companies are out there!

The career fair can also introduce you to industries you didn’t know were out there or didn’t consider yet.

Any other tips?

After the job fair, follow up but don’t pester — it’s good to send a “thank you for your time” email.

Just remember, the company’s ideal future employee is already out there. You just need to show them it’s you!