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Tips to make the most of Career Fairs and Networking Events

Career Fairs and other networking events provide an opportunity for you to explore careers, gather information from prospective employers, and develop contacts to use in the course of your job or internship search.

Try out these tips at the Employer Expo on September 24th! See the 85 + companies already signed up to attend on the Bridge.

Companies attend these events for a variety of reasons: to increase awareness about their organization or the opportunities they offer; to identify potential candidates for future hiring needs; or to fill specific positions that may currently be available.  The Bucknell alumni and parents who attend career networking events are enthusiastic about sharing information regarding their career paths, as well as assisting students with networking.

Here are some guidelines to help you make the most of the experience:

Before the Event:

  • Think about your skills, interests, and goals.
  • Review the list of participants on the Bridge and take time to research the organizations that interest you. Try to determine how your skills and experience fits in with each and be sure to note what they are planning to discuss with students.
  • Have a “plan of attack” – make a list of the top 5-10 participants who you hope to speak during the event.
  • Prepare a version of your resume that is relevant to the particular employers you will be seeing at the event, and bring an ample number of copies. Come to RESUMANIA and get your resume reviewed before going to the fair.
  • Prepare a 30-second “commercial” about yourself that enthusiastically outlines your background, skills, interests, and goals, this will help you to begin a conversation, especially if you are nervous.
  • Mentally prepare some questions for each participating organization you are targeting.

At the Event:

  • Greet participants with a firm handshake and a friendly smile
  • Be sure to maintain good eye contact throughout your conversation.
  • Let them know if you are interested in a specific opportunity or are interested in getting information about the industry or their organization.
  • Show that you have researched their industry and organization through informed comments and questions.
  • Enthusiastically communicate your qualifications, interests, career goals, and sincere interest in their organization or industry.
  • Treat these events as an opportunity to learn as much information as possible, but don’t ask questions related to salary and benefits. Such questions are not appropriate in a networking interaction unless it is an info interview (check with the career center for salary info)
  • Don’t monopolize the participants’ time if there are other students waiting.
  • Ask for a business card and how you should follow up after the event.
  • If you feel intimidated, remind yourself the participants want to be at the event and talk with you!

After the Event:

  • Within a few days, be sure to write to the participants with whom you spoke, thanking them for their time and information.
  • Use connection requests on LinkedIn as a way to follow up and build your network. If there is one, remember to follow the company page too!
  • Check the Bridge to see which participants will be conducting on-campus interviews or resume referrals.
  • If the organization you are interested is not, be sure to maintain contact with the appropriate individuals.

Try out these tips at the Employer Expo on September 24th! See the 85 + companies already signed up to attend on the Bridge.

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