Whether you’re looking for an internship or a job after graduation, career fairs are a great way to make progress in your search.
All CU Boulder career fairs are open to all students, regardless of major or year in school. These events allow you to meet with employers who are hiring for a variety of positions. Whether you attend an in-person or virtual fair this semester, there are steps you can take to help you make a great first impression. Here are some tips for making the most of the career events happening this fall.
Save the date
This semester, career fairs will happen both in person on campus and virtually on Handshake. If you don’t have a Handshake account yet, follow these steps to set up your profile.
Take note of the career fairs you’d like to attend. Keep in mind that career fairs are open to all students and companies will be hiring for a wide range of jobs. Review the list of employers who will be attending and make a list of who you’d like to speak with at the fair. New employers are continuously added to the list, so regularly check the Handshake career fair page to see who will be attending each event.
If you plan to attend a virtual fair, you’ll want to set up a schedule as soon as possible with employers who will be attending. One-on-one appointments are available on a first-come, first-served basis, or you can choose to be in a group session. Learn more in Handshake’s guide to attending a virtual fair.
Questions about upcoming career fairs? Ask a Career Services team member through LiveChat on the Career Services website.
Update your resume and Handshake profile
Make sure you have a resume that highlights your skills, abilities and experience. If there are specific employers that you’ll meet with during the career fair, make a variation of your resume that is tailored to each employer. Review these tips for creating a memorable resume, and use VMock to get personalized, instant feedback on your resume.
Students with completed Handshake profiles have a better chance of meeting one-on-one with employers at virtual careers fairs. Once you have your profile updated and completely filled out, make sure your profile details, particularly your qualifications and GPA, are on the public setting for employers to see.
Prepare for your conversations
Before the fair, practice introducing yourself to employers. Start by sharing your name, year in school and major or area of interest. Talk about the positions you’re interested in, and some relevant skills or experiences.
You should also prepare two or three questions to ask each employer. These should be related to the company or positions you’re interested in. Research companies before the fair to ensure your questions are insightful and not easily answered by looking at their website. Here are some sample questions that might be good to ask:
“How did your degree help you prepare for the position you are in now?”
“I read that your company just started a project doing _______. What opportunities would an intern/new team member have in this project?”
“What do you like most about your job and working for _______?”
“I am interested in following up with you about your job opening. Could you tell me the next steps in the process? And could you give me your email address so that I can follow up with you in a few days?”
If you’re attending a virtual fair, instructions for how to connect with each employer at the career fair will be in their schedules and will be emailed to you prior to your scheduled chat. If you’re using a virtual program to connect with the employer, like Zoom or Skype, test it before your scheduled time.
Whether you’re meeting with employers in person or have a video chat scheduled, wear clothing that is reflective of your identity and aligns with the context of the job you’re seeking. This can put you in a better mindset and help you make a good first impression. Additionally, be mindful of what’s in your background if you have a video chat scheduled with an employer.
Have a notebook and pen with you as well. After speaking with employers, write down a few things that you discussed. Take note of what you liked or didn’t like about the company. You’ll want to reference these notes later to recall the conversation if you’re asked to schedule an interview.
If you received contact information from a company representative, send them an email following your conversation. Reintroduce yourself (they will chat with many students at the fair) and thank them for their time. Use your notes to recall something that you discussed or enjoyed about the conversation, and let them know you’re interested in moving to the next step in the process.
For more tips to help you prepare for career fairs, check out programs and workshops from Career Services.