7 Tips to Prepare for the Career Fair

Michelle Jones

Michelle serves as the Associate Director of Coaching and Education for the Career Development Office at the Johns Hopkins Carey Business School, where she supports all students in their career growth. She comes to Carey with 7 years of experience working with students 1:1, teaching courses, developing workshops, and managing large-scale career events. Michelle holds a Bachelor of Business Administration from James Madison University and a M.A. in College Student Development from Appalachian State University. She is a certified Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), CareerLeader, and StrenghtsQuest practitioner and is a certified MBA Career Coach through The Academies.

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Our 4th Annual Carey Career Fair is happening this week, and at the Career Development Office, we want to make sure all participants enjoy and learn from the experience. A career fair allows students and alumni to search for internships, develop networking skills, learn about different employers and their talent needs, sharpen presentation skills, and receive feedback from recruiters.

Making the most of a career fair takes effort and hours of preparation, and below, I’ve compiled seven tips to make the process easier for you.

  1. Research Participating Employers: While you may want to speak to each employer at the career fair, it’s not likely you’d be able to accomplish that, and really, you don’t want to speak to all employers. Therefore, I advise you to carefully review the list of participating employers and identify your top 3-5 you’d like to speak to. Next, research each one in depth by reviewing their website and LinkedIn page, and checking them out on Glassdoor.
  2. Develop and Polish Your Pitch: Once you’ve researched your target employers, come up with a pitch for each one and practice initiating a conversation. In the pitch, be sure to relate your background to their needs, demonstrate knowledge of the organization, and express enthusiasm and interest.
  3. Plan What to Wear: Business professional attire is required. If you are not sure your attire meets the requirements, check with a career coach and we’ll be happy to offer feedback.
  4. Polish Your Resume: Although your pitch is what will grab their attention, you want to bring a hard copy of your resume to hand upon request. The resume will be a nice supplement to your pitch.
  5. Take Your Time: Once at the career fair, don’t rush to your top employer’s table. Take a few minutes to look around and determine where your target employers are located. Visit at least one other employer before seeing those from your target list. This will give you an opportunity to practice your elevator pitch and get composure.
  6. Ask Questions: After you introduce yourself, don’t wait for recruiters to lead the conversations. While you should practice answering questions they may ask, you also want to develop questions you want to ask them.
  7. Thank recruiters! Thank them after you speak with them at the career fair, but also send them a thank you email/LinkedIn message within 24 hours of the career fair. Mention something memorable from your conversation and reiterate the qualifications that make you a good fit for a position with their company.

And if you are registered and going to the career fair on Friday, please stop by our career fair blitz tables to practice your pitch, finalize your resume, and share interview questions. Career coaches will be at the tables 11:00 AM – 1:30 PM and 3:30 – 6:00 PM.

  • In Harbor East, you can find us on the 2nd floor lobby.
  • At the DC Center, you can find us in the Student Lounge of the 1625 Massachusetts Avenue, NW building.

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