Prepare for a Career Fair

What can I expect at a Career Fair?

  • Anywhere from 50-100 employers represented at various booths
  • Crowds – be patient and observe
  • Lots of background noise with which you’ll have to compete
  • All employers expect questions about their companies and jobs/internships
  • Employers have different agendas: some may be recruiting for open positions; others encourage you to apply online; others will conduct brief screens of your qualifications to determine if they want to schedule an interview; others might just be gathering notes and not hiring immediately 

What should I wear?

Professional Not so professional
Business clothes
  • Business suit in a conservative color (navy, gray, or black are preferred); women may wear suits with either a skirt or pants
  • For men: dress shirt and tie
  • For women: blouse that complements the suit; neckline no lower than collarbone; skirt hem should be no more than two inches above the knee
  • Clothes clean and pressed
  • Shoes: for men—wing tips or loafers with dark socks; for women—low/medium heels or flats with neutral hose
  • Jeans or sweats
  • Shirt tail not tucked in
  • Stains or wrinkles
  • Shoes run down at the heels, scuffed, or not polished
  • White socks
  • Low necklines
  • Too tight or too loose clothing
  • Revealing or provocative
  • Necktie not properly tied
  • Clean and styled
  • Off your face
  • For men – facial hair should be groomed
  • Dirty or unkempt
  • Excessively long bangs
  • Playing with your hair
  • Minimal jewelry: small earrings (one pair only), necklaces, pins, etc. (wedding/engagement rings are acceptable)
  • Good-quality briefcase or portfolio to hold papers
  • Excessive or large jewelry
  • Disorganized materials
  • Heavy or excessive scents

Elevator speech

Prepare your pitch

  • Be specific
  • Target your pitch to the company and role in which you’re interested
  • Keep you pitch conversational and natural, not too heavy on details
  • Be entusiastic

Build your pitch

  • Begin with an introduction
  • Take about your work experience in a clear manner
  • Be prepared to stop and answer questions
  • Discuss your skills and knowledge
  • Tell them what you’re looking for from this pitch
  • You might try: NEWT (Name, education, why you’re there, then be nice)


“I am a junior studying Computer Engineering. I have done well in my engineering courses, such as Computer Systems and Advanced Algorithms. I am part of the student council. I enjoy programming Android apps in my spare time. I am now looking for a full time position at a world class technology company.”

Listen to our staff elevator speeches. 

Questions to ask employers

Application and hiring process questions

  • Could you please describe the hiring process for your organization and how long it takes?
  • Does your company only hire at certain times of the year or on an ongoing basis?
  • What is the most effective way to learn about and apply for positions with your organization?
  • Have you hired past interns for full time, permanent positions?

Hiring needs

  • What are the particular needs of your company at this point in time?
  • What entry level positions do you typically have available?
  • How many positions in your company are currently open in my career field?
  • Do you offer internships or part-time positions to help people gain career-related skills?
  • Does your organization have current needs that could be met by an intern?
  • Although your organization does not currently have an internship program, would you consider developing an internship for someone with my skills and educational background?
  • I understand that your company does not offer positions in my professional area. Can you refer me to other organizations that may hire people with my skills?


  • What type of educational background do you look for in qualified candidates?
  • What types of experiences and skills should candidates have for positions in _________?
  • What are the characteristics of your most successful employees?
  • What skills do you find most marketable in your industry today?
  • What skills to you project being necessary in tomorrow’s job market?
  • Please describe the qualifications, responsibilities and specific time requirements of an internship with your organization.

Careers by Symplicity App to Prepare

iphone appDownload the free Careers by Symplicity app to view the list of registered employers, search openings by major, and learn how to prepare for the event. iOS / Android