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.

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

Before the Fair:

Pro Tips:

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Plan your day ahead of time. Consider time to travel to and from the event around your schedule to maximize your time at the event.

During the Fair:

Pro Tips:

  • Wear business professional attire and comfortable shoes as you might be standing for long periods of time.
  • Bring copies of your resume for employers who may request them.
  • Prepare your introduction to start the conversation include your name, major, position interested in (internship or full-time), and why you are interested in their organization.
  • Prepare questions for the recruiters, think about what you want to gain from this conversation that will help you in the hiring process.
  • Follow the signs inside the event venue to direct you to the fair
  • Paid parking decks available on Beaver Ave. and Fraser St. downtown. Public transportation is also available through CATA. The location is walking distance from the Westgate Building.
  • Before entering the fair, you will need to swipe your student ID to check-in at the registration table.
  • Career Solutions staff will be available at the registration table throughout the event, if you have any questions.
  • A coat and bag area will be available, but this area will not be monitored so plan accordingly.
  • Masking guidelines will follow University policy.

After the Fair:

Pro Tips:

  • Continue your connection with the company by following the company on LinkedIn and connecting with the recruiter.
  • Send a Thank you message via LinkedIn or email to show your continued interests and highlight how you followed through on suggested actions such as "Applying online"

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 Career Fairs

As Penn State transitions back to in-person events, many campuses and companies are continuing to provide virtual events. Be prepared for all opportunities to network with potential employers. 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