Career Fairs are an amazing way to meet a large number of recruiters in a short period of time. It also saves you the stress of waiting for a call-back from an on-line application. Check out this two (2) minute video for an overview of how you can succeed at a career fair.
Most career fairs for Engineering and Technology majors happen in the fall semester. The two best for our Students are the STEM Career and Intern Fair, held at IUPUI and the Industrial Roundtable, held at Purdue West Lafayette. Be sure to download the app for both and attend a Career Fair Workshop to get prepared. Also be sure to see if there are career fairs specific to your major like the Construction Management career fair at Purdue West Lafayette.
New for 2020!
Most of the major career fairs including the IUPUI STEM and West Lafayette Industrial Roundtable will be virtual for 2020. Instead of physically attending the fair and standing in a line to meet with recruiters, you will have the opportunity to set up a ten minute appointment time with recruiters you are interested in speaking with. The same career fair rules apply. You should do your research on employers in advance, dress for success and practice your elevator pitch.
Virtual Career Fairs
Virtual career fairs are online 'events' that allow employers and students to meet via video and offer a number of advantages to both students and employers! Students benefit by saving valuable time which can be used on employer research and practicing elevator pitches. Moreover, students have the opportunity to meet with a wider range of employers, since they don’t have to stand in long lines.
We will be working with Career Fair Plus to host our 2020 virtual career fair, to create an intuitive, user-friendly experience for students and employers. Please download the Career Fair Plus app in preparation for the virtual fair and check out this video demo to see how it works!
What to do before the virtual fair:
- Create a PDF of your resume after having it reviewed by the career services office. We will be offering 11 resumanias in September to have employers critique your resumes.
- Download Career Fair Plus and create your profile.
- Find your desired employer in the list and reserve a spot to see them. Reservations will begin being accepted on September 14th at 8am. You will be able to reserve up to four times between September 14th and 17th. Beginning September 18th you will be able to select more times.
The day before the fair:
- Review your schedule so you know when all of your appointments are.
- Show up to your appointment 2 minutes before your scheduled time.
- Identify the recruiter you are meeting.
- If they are with their previous appointment stand close and wait for them to finish.
- When they are free, let them know you are present for your career fair appointment.
- If you haven’t uploaded your resume at this point, be sure to do so. The recruiter will be able to see it in their app which makes things much easier for everyone.
More details along with some great virtual career fair tips can be found here
How to Work a Career Fair
A career fair is a networking event with employers for internships, co-ops and full time positions. It gives you a chance to market your skills, abilities, education and experience. You also have the opportunity to obtain information from the employer with the hopes of securing an interview.
Before the Fair
- Go to a career fair workshop offered by the school. See the event list for offerings.
- Have your resume reviewed by Career Services.
- Know your target companies and do your research on them.
- Sign up for a time to meet with recruiters via the Career Fair Plus App.
- Have target questions for each company.
- Clean up anything questionable on social media - yes, they check!
Download the App
The App contains a list of all the Companies that will be in attendance along with the positions they will be looking to fill. You can indicate your favorites, sign up for a meeting time and can even type up notes on each organization.
When you meet with a Recruiter, know what you are going to say. A good example of this is:
"Hi, my name is John Doe and I'm a Mechanical Engineering student at the Purdue School of Engineering and Technology at IUPUI graduating in May 2021. I'm looking for a summer internship and am interested in XYZ Company because of their innovative work on locomotive engines. "
End this opening with a pause to see if they have questions about your background. If they don't, ask them a question such as "can you tell me about your internship program" to keep the conversation going.
Yes, you need one. It helps employers put a face with a name after they meet you at a career fair. It also gives them a way to contact you and could lead to job opportunities. Make sure to include the information (keep it updated!) from your resume on your profile along with a professional picture.
What Should You Bring
In the event you attend an in-person career fair, be prepared by bringing the following:
- Paper copies of your resume, no cover letter needed, you are the cover letter.
- Enough resumes to give one to each company you checked off in the app plus five to ten extras.
- A padfolio to carry your papers in. Leave your backpacks at the door.
- A good attitude. You may have to wait in several long lines and recruiters will be watching you while you wait.
Dress the Part
Even if you are attending a virtual career fair, business professional attire is encouraged.
- Conservative business attire. No jeans, sweats or sneakers.
- Be well groomed.
- Bring a padfolio or nice folder with resume copies and something to take notes with (if its an in-perosn fair).
- Smell fresh and clean, not overpowering. No perfume or cologne.