What Should I SAY at a Career Fair? (Part 2)

Career Fair Advice and Tips (Part 2).

We have a career fair here at my college next week and I was wondering what your thoughts are/personal experience is with events like career fair. I would love any tips or strategies you have on attending a career fair or similar event. -Kaitlyn

My advice from “How to Prepare for a Career Fair” (part 1) continues in part 2:  What you say at a career fair should not be left to chance.

I know many feel they are outgoing and undoubtedly “different” than all the other candidates out there (I know I did!) but this alone is not going to cut it.

What sets you apart from your competition is simple: know who you are and what you want.

That’s all. If you don’t know what you want, then you better find out or at least have enough info to convince the recruiters that you do.  Recruiters would much rather continue a conversation with someone who wants to be there and knows why they want to be there.

Career Fair Conversation Tips

  • Have a great professional handshake and make eye contact when introducing yourself.
  • After introducing yourself with your first and last name, exchange business cards with the recruiter.
  • Know and BELIEVE in thyself.
  • Smile!
  • Breath mints please.
  • Ask a lot of good questions.
  • Let the recruiter take the lead in the conversation to avoid sounding like you are “pitching” (or an annoying know it all).

As I’ve said before, I don’t believe in elevator pitches and therefore don’t recommend creating one for a career fair.  My reasoning is that elevator pitches are impersonal, often memorized, and aren’t designed to build long-term relationships.  Elevator pitches are like speed dating (and who meets their dream person from speed dating?!)

Great Career Fair Questions

Can answer the following questions? Make sure you’ve carefully considered the following.  Don’t memorize your answers verbatim, just make sure you’re solid with the themes in each of your answers.

  • Who are you? (you can include where you are from, organizations you are in on campus, major or other things that show your credibility as a candidate)
  • What do you want to do?  Why? (Honesty and knowledge here)
  • What have you done on campus or off that gives evidence that your desired career path is genuine?

Think of a few questions for the person you are talking to at the career fair. Here are some ideas to get you started.  You may or may not use them all.

  • Where are you from?  Where did you go to college? (People love talking about themselves!)
  • How did you get started at this company?
  • What’s your favorite thing about this company?
  • What types of entry-level candidates are you looking for?
  • What do you think sets an entry-level candidate apart?
  • Fun questions that match the time and personality of the person you are talking to (what’s your favorite college football team, what do you miss most about college, when you were in my shoes did you know you were going to pursue this career path, why is this company a great company for women to work at, etc.)

Nicole Emerick

Nicole Emerick founded Ms. Career Girl in 2008 to help other ambitious young professional women thrive in a career they love. Ironically, growing MsCareerGirl helped Nicole transition her own career from commercial banker to digital marketer. Today Nicole leads the social media team at a large advertising agency in Chicago. Nicole also served as an adjunct professor at DePaul University where she helped develop the careers of PR, Advertising and Communications students. Tweet with Nicole @_NicoleEmerick.