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 Career Connection, 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.
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 in person. 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.
- Give yourself time. Large companies = large lines.
- Visit your target companies early, but do a trial run with another company first.
- 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 and see where they will be located in the room and can even type up notes on each organization.
When you approach 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 2018. 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
- 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
- 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.
- Smell fresh and clean, not overpowering. No perfume or cologne.