This year, I attended the Klein College career fair on behave of my internship. I was given the opportunity to be on the other side of internship and job hunting as I was handing out my intern business card alongside my boss and supervisor. As a student attending an event like this, there is a lot of pressure to make sure you look put together, have an elevator speech ready, and let’s not forget printing your resume on hard, crisp, resume paper. I never knew exactly what potential employers were looking for until I got to be in their place. After meeting a lot of great students and observing how my boss goes about recruiting, I noted some key things to keep in mind when attending a college career fair.

Starting with the preparation phase, make sure you do your research on the companies you want to talk to. When approaching a potential employer, you will stand out more when you mention a potential position you would fit perfectly for, or when you can, elaborate on how you relate to the company’s culture. When researching, jot down some things that stand out and develop questions that you can have prepared to ask the employer. Next, practice your elevator pitch and make sure to proofread your resume. There are a ton of resources such as Temple career center, professors, peers, etc. who can make sure your resume is in tip-top shape! This is the same for your elevator pitch as well. Explaining who you are, where you are at in your career, your passions, etc. is hard to get across to someone in a minute. Make sure to think about this and practice some different pitches to find one that captures who you are as well as offering something unique. Finally, make sure you have multiple prints of your resume and do not sweat it if it’s not on the fancy paper.

Now for the day of the event. First and foremost, make sure you have showered and look your best. The number of students I encountered who lacked proper hygiene was unfortunate and needless to say I will not be talking to them again! When you first arrive, take a loop around and just look at where the companies are sitting that you want to approach. Once you know your grounds, start to engage with the companies. Approach someone at the table who looks the most approachable; usually, they are smiling or making eye contact with you (since they want you to talk to them too!). Look the employer in the eye when shaking their hand and make sure your handshake is firm and professional (no one wants to shake a dead fish). Be sure to deliver your pitch and ask your questions, this will ultimately lead to a conversation that flows seamlessly. Once the conversation comes to a close, give them your resume, take their business card, shake their hand once again, and thank them for their time.

The next day, connect with the employer on LinkedIn and send them a thank you message on there or if you want to make even more of an impact, send them a thank you letter in the mail. Mention something that stood out or let them know you would like to be kept in the loop for a position. From there, you have done all that you can, all that’s left to do is keep in touch and stay on top of a position that you’re interested in. Employers are busy people – if they do not get back to you within a reasonable time period (1-2 weeks) then reach out again! Showing them that you are eager and extremely interested pays off in the long run. Now you’re ready to go crush your next career fair!