Navigating a Job Fair

What is a job fair?

Job fairs allow you to learn about potential employers and experiential opportunities. They are typically held in a large venue where potential employers will set up booths with members from their human resources team along with employees, to tell those attending about their company, their application process and anything else they might want to know. 

Career Exploration & Student Employment hosts the Fall Part-time Job Fair and the Summer Jobs & Internships Fair each year. All students are welcome to attend any job or career fair at IU.

Before the fair

  • Login to Handshake  to locate the fair you plan on attending.
  • Look at the list of employers attending, create a list of favorite employers that you want to be sure to visit first.
  • Research information on their organization website.
  • Develop questions you might want to ask the employers.

  • You can get started on polishing your resume with our Resume Guide.
  • Bring many copies of your resume, at lease one for every employer you would like to talk to.

  • These are usually no more than 15-30 seconds in length basically explaining who you are, what you are studying, and the types of learning experiences you are hoping to secure in the future.
  • Make your pitch relevant and to the point.

My name is Harvey Hoosier and I’m a freshman here at Indiana University studying _______ and looking to gain experiences possibly in the area of _____________.  I’m participating in the fair today to explore part-time job and internship opportunities.

What should I wear?

Your attire depends on the fair. If it is a CE&SE-hosted part-time job or summer job/internship fair, you can attend in casual, yet professional clothing (i.e. no sweatpants or profanity). 

If you are attending a career fair for an internship or full-time position, you should wear business casual or business professional attire. If you have any questions on this, be sure to ask your career coach. 

Guide on What to Wear

What should I bring?

Bring along a few copies of your resume if you have one, as well as a pad of paper and pen in a portfolio. It is helpful to bring a target list of companies of interest and notes about each one to remind you what you want to say or ask. Lastly, don't forget a smile, enthusiasm, curiosity and lots of energy!

What should I do at the fair?

Approach the booths of interest and wait for your opportunity to talk with the employer. When it is your turn, greet the employer with a firm, but not bone-crushing, handshake. Introduce yourself with your elevator pitch. See where the conversation goes. You can show that you have done research with statements like:

I understand from your website that your organization has an internship program/job opportunity in _____________. Can you tell me more about that?

Be friendly and courteous. Ask how you can follow up after the fair.

What should I NOT do?

  • Bring a bulky bag or backpack. It will get in your way.
  • Collect all the freebies you can find.
  • Randomly hand out resumes or just drop them on employers’ tables without an introduction.
  • Interrupt employer or fellow job seekers. Be patient.

After the fair

Follow up with any new contacts you made. Send an email message thanking them for their time. You can also consider connecting and messaging with them on  LinkedIn along with a reminder of how and when you met as well as restating your interests.