Portland Community College | Portland, Oregon Portland Community College

Fair Tips

Be Prepared Before the Fair

Know what to say
  • Prepare a 15-second pitch about yourself – what skills and accomplishments do you bring that will benefit this company. What makes you unique?
  • This video from Boston University Center for Career Development provides great tips to help prepare your Elevator Pitch.
Plan to wear a professional outfit – first impressions are critical and lasting

How to dress for a job fair

  • Dress business casual. Refrain from wearing perfume or cologne.
  • Employers strongly discourage mini skirts, tank/halter/sleeveless tops, low-cut or tight-fitting shirts, facial or tongue piercings, and visible tattoos.
  • Watch these videos to get more ideas on professional and business casual dress.
Employers say…

“Go to our website: look at our openings and the types of jobs we have, learn about our company and apply online.”

  • A list of this year’s attendees with links to their websites can be found under Employer Attendees.
  • It’s a great way to find out current openings and apply online.
  • Look up information and do research on the companies you want to talk to. Impress them with your company knowledge and enthusiasm to work for them.

Glassdoor is a resource to help you do some research on companies before you attend the fair

Prepare your resume before the fair – in case you’re asked for it
  • It’s less common at job fairs that employers are accepting resumes, they steer applicants to their online applications, however in the case you are asked for one, be prepared to offer a current resume.

At the Career Fair

  • Be patient, keep a positive attitude and show your enthusiasm for their company.
  • Bring a pen, folder or portfolio for your resumes, and perhaps a pad of paper.
  • Carry as little as possible (no coats or backpacks).
  • Turn off cell phone.
  • Talk to others while you are waiting in line. You may hear about opportunities of which you were unaware.
Approach employer representatives with confidence
  • Introduce yourself, make good eye contact, and offer a firm handshake. Be enthusiastic – smile and express interest in the company.
  • Know what type of position you are looking for.
  • Ask appropriate questions about job openings/descriptions, the organization, application procedures, etc. Click on Questions to Ask Recruiters.
  • Collect business cards and employer literature.
  • Don’t just drop your resume on employers display table and grab free stuff. Try to get it into a person’s hands and at least say a few words. Write a note on your resume to the effect of, “You were so busy that we didn’t get a chance to meet. I’m very interested in talking to you.” Look around the display for their business card and send them a follow up note with another copy of your resume.
Navigating the event
  • Go try your pitch out on an employer you are not as interested in before you go to your top choices.
  • When you visit your top choices; avoid standing in a long line to speak with one recruiter when you could talk with 3 or 4 others in the same time period.
  • Listen what questions others are asking and what recruiters are saying. You might get some ideas for good questions.
  • Explore options – A wide variety of companies will normally participate. This is an excellent opportunity to browse and indulge your curiosity.
  • Be flexible – Not all companies will have open positions or be interviewing on the spot. Be prepared to gather information and make connections with employers for possible future openings. Don’t burn a bridge by expressing frustration about a lack of current jobs.

After the Career Fair

Send a thank you letter or email message
  • Thank employers for their time spent at the job fair. Restate your interest to those employers in which you are particularly interested.
  • Include a copy of your resume. Since most candidates will not follow up with employers after the job fair, this will make you stand out.