Three Common Career Fair Mistakes (And How to Avoid Them!)

Fall recruitment season is upon us! Whether you’re a freshman seeking career inspiration or a senior pondering a post-graduation internship, a career fair is a valuable tool in your job search. However, those of you who are career fair newbies might be stressing about how to prepare. What do I say to employers? Who do I talk to? What do I wear?! Luckily, we’re here to help! Avoid the following career fair mistakes, and you’ll be golden! Try putting these tips into practice at the Fall Career & Internship Expo on Oct. 5.

1. Not dressing professionally
You’ve probably heard that you only have seven seconds to make a good first impression. This is especially important to keep in mind at a career fair, where you may only have a few minutes to impress an employer. That being said, you need to dress appropriately for the event! This isn’t the time to look like you’ve just rolled out of bed. A good rule of thumb for career fair attire is business casual. This means dress shirts, blouses, dresses, slacks, skirts, low heels, and dress shoes. Ties and blazers are optional but also appropriate. While you want to look professional, you also want to be comfortable. You’ll be on your feet for a while, and the last thing you want is to develop a blister or feel uncomfortable. Don’t wear five-inch heels or a tuxedo.

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2. Lack of preparation
It’s a great idea to ask questions to show your interest and learn more about an employer. However, you don’t want to ask for information you could have easily found on a company’s website. Before attending a career fair, make sure to research all attending employers and prioritize the ones that interest you. Find out basic information about a company to give you a solid understanding of its work and culture. Once you’re informed, you can come up with a few open-ended questions to ask employers at the career fair. Also, you need to practice how you’ll introduce yourself to employers. This way, you’ll be able to answer the “tell me about yourself” question.

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3. Forgetting to follow-up
While you were at the career fair, we’re sure you acquired a lot of business cards (hint, hint). Don’t let them sit around and collect dust! Within a day or two of the career fair, make sure to send a follow-up email to recruiters. Make sure your follow-up is professional and cordial, and attach your resume, even if you gave it to the recruiter at the event. Remind the recruiter of your qualifications and why you’d like to work for the company. Also, mention something specific from your conversation to add a personal touch.

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By avoiding these mistakes, you’ve conquered the career fair! You’ll feel much more confident when attending your next networking or Career Center event.

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