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Herzing Staff

From Handshake to Hire: Making the Most of Career Fair Opportunities

Here's some key advice you can use before, during, and after your next career fair to ensure you’re getting the best chance to turn your visit into an exciting new job!

College is about more than passing tests and listening to classroom lectures—it’s the complete experience, and that extends to job placement after graduation. At Herzing University, we believe it’s our responsibility to not only educate you but also to help provide the critical access points for meeting employers and getting hired.

Campus career fairs are events often put on by the Career Development Team to help students discover the variety and breadth of career opportunities currently available. These events enable you to make connections with successful alumni, company representatives, hiring managers and recruiters. It may also help you smoothly navigate the next stage of your career journey. A campus career fair is an opportunity to have companies and industry leaders available to answer questions while removing much of the stress that comes with an actual job search.

Here's some key advice you can use before, during, and after your next career fair to ensure you’re getting the best chance to turn your visit into an exciting new job!

Before the Career Fair… 

  • Research the attendee list. Find out which companies will be in attendance and make a plan to visit the booths that pique your interest the most. But don’t overlook companies or organizations you’re not familiar with; you never know where your next opportunity might be.
  • Prepare your resume. Having your resume on hand is an easy way to start a conversation with hiring managers to help figure out how your career goals might align with a particular company. Make several copies so you can share your information, and of course, don’t forget to proofread!
  • Perfect your pitch. The campus career fair showcases many different companies and businesses, so you’ll want to be ready with what you are looking for in a future employer and what your professional goals are after graduation. Having a concise “elevator pitch” to share with recruiters will help you efficiently use your time and showcase your stellar communication skills.
  • Dress for success. A career fair is a great time to make a first impression. Arriving with clean, business-casual clothing and a neat appearance shows the recruiters and hiring managers that you are career-ready and someone to consider as a serious candidate. 

During the Career Fair…

  • Be on time. Planning allows you enough time to browse the booths, ask questions and get a real feel for the companies represented, without feeling rushed or unprepared. 
  • Ask good questions. The campus career fair gives one-on-one access to someone with expert knowledge about the company, so use that time wisely. With your research and notebook handy, ask questions that dig deeper into the social environment, workplace ethics, opportunities for growth, diversity and inclusion initiatives and other items that aren’t easily found with an online search. This deeper level of interest will stand out for hiring managers looking for someone who comes prepared and looks at a future career from a fully holistic perspective.
  • Be confident. You practiced your pitch and you’ve got a few key questions to ask, so lead with the confidence of someone who is well-prepared and ready to impress. The recruiters will be talking to many students and the ones who have an active, curious interest in the event will stand out. 
  • Have a follow-up plan. If you like the interaction between yourself and the company rep, let them know that you’re interested in following up for more information. If they have a business card, take it and share your own or ask if you can connect professionally via email or a social platform like LinkedIn. The rep will be more likely to remember you because you made the effort to build on that first contact. 

After the Career Fair… 

  • Reflect on what piqued your interest and what did not. Use the campus career fair to sort through what you liked about different companies. Think about where you could see yourself having an impactful career, where you saw growth opportunities and professional development initiatives and other items that are important to you when thinking about your future career options. 
  • Stay connected. If you made a connection with a company (or two, or three, or six!), make sure to take the time to send an email or note, thanking them for their time and asking how to learn more about open positions or programs. Where possible, list something specific you either talked about or want to learn more about so that you show the company rep that you are focused on finding the best fit. Be courteous and concise in your email, and let them know you want to stay connected, either via LinkedIn or other professional groups. 
  • Make a plan for the next campus career fair. Campus career fairs are great opportunities to see what’s available and what aligns with your career plans. Those plans may change or adjust as you progress through school, so it doesn’t hurt to keep the door open for any future opportunities. 

Preparing for a campus career fair requires strategic planning, effective communication and building meaningful connections — all the important human skills you’ve been building during your education. By following these steps before, during and after the event, you are taking actionable steps toward finding the best fit for your post-graduation career plans. To help prepare and learn more information about upcoming career fairs, visit the Career Development Team at Herzing University for campus resources and post-graduation opportunities.

Learn More About Our Career Programs


* Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics 2023 / Occupational Outlook Handbook 2022. BLS estimates do not represent entry-level wages and/or salaries. Multiple factors, including prior experience, age, geography market in which you want to work and degree field, will affect career outcomes and earnings. Herzing neither represents that its graduates will earn the average salaries calculated by BLS for a particular job nor guarantees that graduation from its program will result in a job, promotion, salary increase or other career growth.

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