College career fairs are a great way for students to begin their career search and dip their toes in the professional interview pool. However, entering a room full of employers can be extremely intimidating for even the most experienced job seeker. That being said, it’s a great idea to prepare ahead of time to make the experience more comfortable and optimize your time at the event. 

Before the Event: Do Your Homework 

Find the list of employers who will be attending the career fair and create your own list prioritizing the ones you want to speak to. This way, if you run out of time to meet everyone, you’ll at least be sure you’ve hit your top choices. Once you have your list, do some research on what they do, their culture, mission, and values. If you come to the career fair with basic background knowledge and questions, you can spend your time having deeper conversations with employers. Be prepared to give a quick elevator pitch about yourself as well; 20-30 seconds talking about your skills, background, and experience. 

Make sure your resume is up to date and print at least 20 copies to take with you in a small briefcase. Bring a pen and paper for taking notes, as well as physical or digital business cards 

Dress professionally and comfortable. Treat the career fair as an interview, but also understand that you will be on your feet for a long period of time in a room full of people.  

During the Event: Make an Impression 

Approach each employer with a smile, eye contact and a firm handshake. Have your elevator pitch ready and hand the recruiter your resume as you introduce yourself so you can point out specific examples of your skills and experience. Make the most of your time with them by expressing why you’re interested in their company, which roles you are interested in and why you’d make a great fit. When wrapping up your conversation, make sure to thank them for their time and ask for their business card (so that you can follow up post-event). 

After the Event: Keep in Contact 

Your job isn’t done yet! Within 24-48 hours of the college career fair, send a thank you note to each employer you met with thanking them for their time again. There are some great thank you note templates available online that can give you a head start. Using these as a jumping off point, you can personalize each message- that way it doesn’t appear that you’ve done a copy and paste general email. You can also include your resume if you’d like to remind them who you are. If there are companies that you are interested in applying to, do so right away and include that in you thank you note, letting them know the position you’ve applied for and that you hope you can speak again soon.  

Keep in mind that you are competing with hundreds of other college graduate job seekers that these employers and recruiters are speaking to. By taking these steps to prepare yourself for a college career fair, you are getting a leg up on standing out from the crowd. 

Actively job searching? Check out Atrium’s most up to date listing of temp, temp-to-hire and direct hire job openings. Apply now!

Nicole Garza
Nicole Garza

Nicole Garza is Atrium's Recruitment Marketing Manager. As a result of her 10+ years of experience, she has a constant pulse on the latest hiring trends and candidate attraction strategies.