The official blog of Abacus Group — a place to share our knowledge and thoughts on trends in recruiting

October 08, 2019

Making a Great Impression at Your College Job Fair


Once or twice a semester, college campuses host career fairs where hundreds of company representatives come to network with students. These events can lead to industry connections as well as job and internship opportunities, so attending them, especially in your Junior and Senior year, is a must. To ensure you’re well prepared and ready to impress, follow the guidelines below and you’ll be a networking pro.

Dress for the Job You Want

If this is your first-time dressing for a professional event, following your industry’s dress code will keep you in line with the professional you meet. Dressing business casual is always a good choice if you’re unsure, just make sure to avoid jeans, t-shirts, and sneakers. However, keep your outfit comfortable by wearing pieces that fit right and shoes that you can stand in for hours.

Know Who You Want to Speak With

A few days before the career fair, look over the list of attendees and take note of who you definitely want to speak with and who you’ll only try to catch if there is time. Additionally, when you arrive, walk around the room and map out your route for the day so you don’t look lost as you go from one booth to another.

Come Prepared and Stay Organized

Pack the bag you’ll bring with the essentials, including at least 20 copies of your resume and a handful of business cards if you have them. Also, have a folder to put any of the printed materials given to you and a pen and note pad to take notes if needed. Finally, a water bottle and some mints will ensure your breath stays fresh throughout the day.

Have Your Introduction Pitch Memorized

In order to make a great first impression, read some example elevator pitches online from people in your industry and write one for yourself. It should roughly be a one-minute summary of your skills and experiences. While practicing your elevator pitch, make sure you speak slowly, enunciate, and insert the occasional pause in case the person you are talking with interjects.

Ask Questions and Make a Personal Connection

To make a meaningful impression, ask questions about the person’s career, how they found their way to their current job, and what they love about the company they work for. Additionally, share why you are interested in pursuing this career path and potentially working at this company. This will give you the opportunity to show your passion and make a meaningful connection.

End by Keeping the Door Open

At the end of every conversation exchange contact information and thank them for taking the time to speak with you. In the following few days, send a thank you note or email, mentioning specific things that stood out to you about the person and the company. Also, ask for them to let you know if any positions open up that you could be a good fit for.

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