Clark Career and Internship Fairs are a great way for all majors and class years to explore careers, check out specific companies and organizations that interest you, get career advice from industry insiders, expand your professional network, and yes, potentially land an interview. Come explore and practice introducing yourself–even if you are not specifically job hunting right now.
Preparing in advance of the Career Fair will help you build confidence in presenting yourself and navigating new connections with employers. Here are a few quick tips on how to prepare:
- Plan to dress appropriately. First impressions matter, business casual attire is required for the career fair.
- Check out which companies are registered for the fair on the Handshake event page. You can click on “View All Employers” on the fair event page to see a list of all employers registered, a description of the company and the types of positions that they are hiring for (internships, full time, or part time). You can also view the current positions posted by an employer in Handshake to get a sense of their roles, requirements and expectations by clicking on the company’s page and viewing their current posted positions.
- To prioritize your time at the fair, make a list of the top 5-10 employers that you want to introduce yourself to and learn more about.
- Practice your “career pitch.” A career pitch explains, in 30 seconds or less, who you are, what your major or skills are; your career goals and why you’re interested in the company. You can highlight things such as; you’re looking for an internship in a certain industry to get a sense of potential career paths, you’re seeking a full-time opportunity after graduation that enables you to use a particular set of skills; or your values align with the brand of the company and you’re planning to apply for their internship program.
- Bring several copies of your resume printed on paper. Be sure to have your resume reviewed by Clark’s Career Services staff for proper formatting, industry keywords, and best practices on how to highlight your unique skills and experiences.
- Bring a notepad and a pen so that you can take notes on what you learn from employers and recruiters when you inquire about next steps of connecting with additional managers. The representative at the fair may not be the person hiring for the department or opportunity that you’re interested in.
- A way to hold on to the business cards that you are collecting. Ask for business cards from people who are planning to follow up with, not from every representative at the fair. It’s easy to fall back on asking for a card when you aren’t comfortable networking. Take this opportunity to make connections!
- Introduce yourself and your career pitch (see above under How to Prepare for tips on your career pitch). Say “hello” to the representatives and welcome them to Clark – employers sometimes send alumni to represent their company! Talk about your career interests and ask questions about their opportunities or company.
- Bring your positive attitude and be sensitive to other students who may be waiting to speak with the same employer by keeping your questions brief and offering to follow-up at a later time.
- Be courteous of employer materials. Always check with employers before taking materials from their tables.
- Send a “thank you” letter or email message to representatives that you meet with at the fair, even if they don’t have an immediate opening for a position. The connections you make now can be invaluable later. Follow up with direct questions that you have for clarification, say thank you, and reaffirm your interest. Here’s a sample message:
Dear (insert representative’s name),
We met two weeks ago at the Clark University Career Fair. I enjoyed speaking with you about (insert company name and position or conversation topic) and was impressed by the company philosophy and opportunities.
I wanted to reaffirm my interest in the (insert position or potential program) at your company. Given the qualifications and skills that you highlighted as ideal for this role, I believe that my (insert your related experience and interests) would be a great fit for the opportunity.
I have attached an updated copy of the resume I gave you at the Career Fair. Thank you so much for your time and consideration.
(insert your name)