Tips for Career Fair Success

It is never too early to begin your career exploration and journey. Developing the skills to prepare for and attend networking and career fair events is a very important step in your career journey. Just like any skill, the more you practice it, the better you will be.

This page breaks down the process to help you prepare for and make the most of any career fair opportunity. These steps will provide a guide with clear and actionable suggestions for you to use. They will help you present yourself and your skills confidently because you will know that you have prepared for these events.

Know that fall events are the heaviest recruiting time for internship opportunities for the next summer. It is important for you to attend events now, both virtually and in-person. It is also important for you to know that you will get better at this. And, we are here to assist you.

Congratulations! You are on your way! Let’s get started!

Before the Fair:

Pro Tips:

  • Register in advance. This will allow you to maximize your time at the fair.
  • Prioritize your target companies and start with one or two companies that are at the lower end of your list. This can help you to get in the flow of the event and get your nerves under control
  • Look at the company’s career page on their website.
  • If the event is virtual, be aware of the time limit on your conversation if there is one. Keep your introduction concise.
  • Make sure you have registered and are able to easily access the system with strong internet connection or that you have directions for where the in-person event is being held.
  • Update your resume and LinkedIn profile to make sure it is up-to-date.
  • Meet with a career coach to review your resume and LinkedIn profile and seek out other ways to stand out in the applicant pool.
  • Upload your resume into Nittany Lion Careers.
  • Do a social media check-up to make sure your online persona represents the best version of you to employers.
  • Review the full list of companies attending the event and target 5 to 10 organizations you would like to talk to.
  • Be open to exploring some organization that are new to you.
  • Google your companies of interest to learn about what they do and any recent accomplishments or events that might have them in the news.
  • Follow the organization on LinkedIn to get the latest news from them.
  • Know what they are looking for (job and internship opportunities) as posted on Nittany Lion Careers or on their website.
  • Review the many Career Development Resources and explore our Career Video Library.
  • Know your resume and be prepared to share successes and proud moments.
  • Practice introducing yourself and discussing skills that make you a good fit for the company.
  • Review the event platform or location to know how and when you can attend the fair. Use provided resources or search the web for information to help your preparation.
  • Apply to open positions in advance if you want to demonstrate a high level of interest.
  • Make sure your voicemail is professional and is not full so companies can connect with you and leave messages.

During the Fair (Virtual):

Pro Tips:

  • Use a desktop computer, if possible, and log out of other programs that use internet bandwidth while actively participating in the virtual career fair.
  • Write down the name and email of each recruiter you talk with.
  • Make of list of next steps they recommend from your conversations.
  • Use the “Away” toggle in the top left corner when you need to step away, so you don’t lose your spot in line.
  • Be prepared to chat via text, audio, or video.
  • At the end of the chat, you can write notes about your conversation that are only visible for you for up to six months after the event.
  • Visit the virtual career fair homepage.
  • Log in using the email address and password you used during registration.
  • Find the IST Internship and Career Fair in your list of registered events and click on the “Enter Event” button.
  • Enter a company’s booth and click on the green “CHAT” button to start a conversation or enter the waiting line if a recruiter is not available.
  • When a recruiter is available to chat, your chat window will automatically open.
  • You can enter multiple waiting lines, you will connect with an employer when both parties are available. Consider waiting in 4-6 lines at a time.
  • The employer has the option to text, audio, or video chat but you can always request your preference.
  • Have your quick introduction prepared to include your name, major, year, and why you are interested in talking with them.
  • If an employer invites you for an audio or video chat you must accept.
  • Chats are set for eight minutes, but you do not need to use the full amount of time. You'll see a timer showing how much time you have remaining.
  • When the chat is over you can leave an additional message for the employer to review later.
  • Once the chat is completed and you're in multiple lines, you will move to the next available recruiter.
  • At the end of the chat, you can write notes about your conversation that are only visible to you for up to six months after the event.
  • Click on "Search Booths.”
  • Type the employer's name in the "Keyword" search bar.
  • Click on the "Advanced Search" link to filter by booth tags.
  • Enter the chat lines directly by sliding the toggle next to each employer to the right.
  • Enter multiple lines at once. Your chat will automatically start with the first available employer.
  • Be careful not to enter too many lines at once. You want to be sure that you connect with your top employers, give yourself a break in between chats, and make sure you know which employer you are chatting with.
  • If you are unable to connect with an employer, you can "Drop a Note" that will be emailed to them.
  • This is done in each booth. You will see a "Drop a Note" link under the "Content" section.
  • Employers will be able to view your profile information and your resume along with your note.
  • The IST Office of Career Solutions and Corporate Engagement will have a booth in the event lobby.
  • Stop by to chat with an IST Career Coach.
  • For technical issues, review the Brazen User Support PDF or contact support@brazen.com.

After the Fair:

Pro Tips:

  • Continue your connection with the company by following the company on LinkedIn and connecting with the recruiter.
  • You can access your chat history for at least six months by clicking "History" in the upper right-hand corner of your screen from the Lobby. To access the Lobby after the event, enter the event just as you would if it were live.

If an employer asks you to apply or email them your resume, do it! They don’t ask everyone, and you must apply before they can move you forward in the hiring process.

  • Write an email to each recruiter you talked with to thank them for their time, summarize your conversation, and highlight your interest in their opportunities.
  • Attend additional fairs and information sessions or seek out other events your companies are hosting to show your interest in their organization.

In-Person vs. Virtual Fair

For fall 2021, the majority of Penn State’s career fairs will be held virtually on the Brazen platform. However, you should be prepared for in-person events, as well. Below are some brief tips to help you prepare for any on-campus fairs or recruiting events.

In-person

Before

  • Have printed resumes
  • Make sure you have a professional outfit to wear
  • Wear comfortable shoes
  • Prepare your introduction

During

  • Take notes from conversations in a notebook
  • Be calm and pace yourself
  • The fair will be busy, so focus on listening to the conversations you are having with the recruiters

After

  • Send thank you emails to recruiters
  • Follow companies on LinkedIn
  • Connect with recruiters on LinkedIn

Virtual

Before

  • Register for event and create profile on the virtual platform
  • Upload resume to the virtual platform
  • Test your camera, lighting, and speaker on the virtual platform
  • Prepare your introduction

During

  • Connect in a quiet space that features an uncluttered background
  • Prepare responses for text chats
  • Leave the career fair window open to avoid missing any conversations with recruiters

After

  • Send thank you emails to recruiters
  • Follow companies on LinkedIn
  • Connect with recruiters on LinkedIn