skip to contentThe University of Texas at Austin

Career Fair Success Strategies

as

 Career Fairs are an important part of any job search strategy. While it is important to remember that employers are coming specifically to recruit you, career fairs do take some preperation. See our guides below for some helpful tips on putting your best foot forward.  

Learn More
College of Liberal Arts
College of Liberal Arts

This caption describes the image above.

Career Fairs are an important part of any job search strategy. While it is important to remember that employers are coming specifically to recruit you, career fairs do take some preparation. See our guides below for some helpful tips on putting your best foot forward. 

  • To view this information as a PDF, click here

    When planning what to wear to your upcoming interview or professional event consider the following:

    • You only get one chance to make a first impression, and your first impression can help determine whether you continue in the interview process.
    • If you’re dressed business professional you can easily change to business casual by removing a jacket; however, you can’t as easily change from business casual to professional
    • The primary goal of dressing for your interview is to feel confident and look professional. If you feel uncomfortable in an outfit - even if it fits and people say you look great - don’t wear it.
    • You can dress professionally and still incorporate your personality or tailor to a specific industry (ex. wear your favorite jewelry or favorite colors when appropriate or add a pop of color or pattern if meeting with an artistic company)

     

    BUSINESS PROFESSIONAL

    Business professional is most appropriate for interviews, business events, networking events, career fairs and presentations.

    Ideal for: Banking, Finance, Politics

    Jackets, Pants, Skirts & Suits

    Guidelines: should fit well (alter if needed); striped patterns are acceptable; should have dark-colored or matching buttons. Pants or skirt color should match jacket.

    Shirts & Blouses

    Guidelines: shirts should have long sleeves; cuffs on sleeves are best; well-defined or high collars are best.

    Footwear

    Guidelines: match color/color family of suit; should be comfortable; 2.5-inch heels or shorter; should be cleaned. Try to match with accessory color (i.e., watch wristband)

    BUSINESS CASUAL

    Business casual may be appropriate for non-traditional work environment daily attire, casual Fridays, social events and casual networking.

     Ideal for: Non-profit, arts, entertainment, education

    Jackets, Pants, Skirts & Suits

    Guidelines: top-bottom colors may differ; soft collars acceptable; buttons may be light colors.

    Shirts, Sweaters, Polos and Blouses

    Guidelines: shirts and polos should be collared; shirts should be button-down; shirts should have long sleeves; short sleeves are ok for sweater and polo.

     Footwear

    Guidelines: should be comfortable; should be cleaned and polished; 2.5-inch heels or shorter acceptable.

     

    GROOMING AND ATTIRE TIPS

    • Hair and Facial hair: Neatly styled and clean (bright colored hair may not be accepted as professional in some industries)
    • Nails: Well maintained, clean, and comfortable
    • Cologne/Perfume: none or very light/natural
    • Ties: small patterns are OK
    • Socks: Match to pants, if possible, small patterns OK
    • Makeup: Subtle
    • Jewelry: Minimal
    • Hosiery: skin tone, research company culture, bare legs may be OK in some industries
    • Briefcase/Portfolio/Bag: Clean and large enough to hold personal items during event or interview
    • Belt: simple buckle, match shoes if possible

     

    THINGS TO AVOID

    • Loud colors (clothes/shoes, jewelry, make-up, hair)
    • Casual wear (jeans, t-shirts, tank tops)
    • Ill-fitting clothing (too big, too tight, too short)
    • Shorts, capri pants, and short skirts
    • Mismatched clothing (fabrics, colors, patterns)
    • Wrinkled, untucked, pilled, or linty clothing
    • Sheer, tattered, faded, stained or dirty clothing
    • Distracting jewelry, accessories, or items in pockets
    • Cleavage, chest hair
    • Hats (religious exceptions apply)
    • Strong odors (perfumes, colognes, smoke, garlic)
    • Visible body art and piercings (in some industries)
    • Athletic shoes, casual sandals, flip flops
  • Before the Fair 

    To view this information as a PDF, click here

    WHAT IS A CAREER FAIR?
    A career fair is an event with a wide variety of organizations hiring for multiple roles coming to
    campus to recruit you! Walk around the space and connect with multiple employers at their
    booths where you will learn about the organization, ask about open roles you are interested in,
    and submit your resume.


    PREPARING FOR THE CAREER FAIR

    • Craft a professional-looking resume that really sells your strengths, experience, and accomplishments. Use this resume guide to help you as you update your resume.
      • Have at least 1 resume for each company you plan to speak with + 5 more to give employers who attract your attention on the day (print on high quality paper found at the Texas Union Copy Center)
      • Bring a quality padfolio or folder to store your resumes and notes in
    • Strategize your approach for the day of the fair
      • Download the Handshake app to keep up to date with information about the fair, view employers and their websites and open positions
      • Determine how long you can spend at the fair and identify the top employers you would like to visit during that time
    • Research the companies and organizations you are interested in
      • Prepare yourself by visiting the websites of each employer on your list
      • Review social media pages including LinkedIn
      • Research their history, press releases, rankings, mission/values statements, and job/career pages
      • Be prepared to tell the recruiters why you want to work for this organization
      • Know someone that works there? Ask for more information about the company
    • Prepare your attire before the fair
      • Business professional or business casual is strongly suggested for career fairs- you want to make a great first impression and feel confident
      • If you need professional attire, visit the UT Outpost, the free, on-campus career closet
      • Read more attire and grooming suggestions under the 'Dress for Success' tab on this page
  • During the Fair 

    To view this information as a PDF, click here

    EMPLOYER CONVERSATIONS

    While waiting in line:

    • Be attentive ​
    • Try to get a feel for how long the recruiter likes to spend with each person​
    • Listen to the questions others are asking the recruiter
    • Wait patiently and give other students their turn to speak with the recruiter

     

    Speaking with Recruiters:

    • Try to get recruiter contact information so you have a direct line of contact
    • It’s likely they’ll take your resume AND have you apply online/through Handshake. ​
    • Be mindful of how long you are talking to a recruiter, especially if there is a long line of students waiting to speak to them
    • Take notes during or right after your conversation to help you recall what you discussed with each employer

     

    Do:

    • Be confident
    • Express interest in the company​
    • Emphasize your uniqueness/strengths​
    • Ask relevant questions​ that show you researched the company in advance
    • Thank the recruiter for their time​

     

    Don’t:

    • Ask about compensation/salary
    • Bring up negative press
    • Ask, “so what do your company or organization do?”

     

    SAMPLE QUESTIONS

    • Ask about the hiring process:​
      • What does the hiring process for [open role] look like?
      • Can you tell me a little bit about the different stages in the hiring process for [open role]?​
    • Ask about their experience:
      • How long have you been at [Company]?​
      • What do you like about [Company]? ​
      • What’s your favorite thing about your job? ​
      • What do you really enjoy about this role in particular?​
      • What are some of the challenges you’ve faced in your role or at [Company]?​
    • Ask about growth and development:
      • What does growth and development look like at [Company]?
      • How does [Company] support its employees as they look to grow and level up their skills and responsibilities?
      • I imagine that [innovation at the company or change in the industry] will change how you're working on [project or product]. How are you developing your workforce to keep up with this?
      • How does [Company] work to upskill and reskill its employees?
    • Ask about company culture:
      • What kind of person is most successful at [Company]?​
      • What does communication look like at [Company]? What kind of technology do you use for communication?​
      • What kind of culture is there around feedback at [Company]? How do people like to give and receive feedback?​
      • Diversity is really important to me. How do you support different identities? ​
      • I saw photos of [volunteer, diversity, or social event] on the company’s Instagram account. Can you tell me more about that program? ​
      • Do people hang out outside of work on a regular basis?

     

    ELEVATOR PITCH

    An elevator pitch is a 20- to 30-second introduction of yourself in a professional or career context. Learn more about the components of an elevator pitch and read a sample pitch here.

    Three Elements. Thirty Seconds or Less. 

    • Concrete Information ​
      • Name​
      • Year​
      • Degree (optional)​
    • Subjective Information​
      • Themes of your experience     ​
      • Highlights​
      • Interests​
    • Connecting Information​
      • Why this company?​
      • Why this job?​

     

  • After the Fair 

    To view this information as a PDF, click here

    FOLLOWING UP

    Whether or not you’re offered an interview, it’s often a good idea to write to the recruiter to
    remind them of your meeting. Recruiters meet so many students during fairs so remind them of
    who you are and what makes you stand out!
    The only time to ignore this advice is if an employer asked you specifically not to contact them.


    Thank You Email:

    • Send within 24 hours
    • Note something specific about your conversation
    • Include something you like about their company

     

    Follow Up Email:

    • Send two weeks later
    • Reaffirm interest in company/position
    • Inquire about the status of their hiring process

     

    SAMPLE LETTERS
    Subject Line: Thank you for your help at the Liberal Arts Career Fair

    Dear {Recruiter Name},

    I enjoyed chatting with you and learning more about {Company} at the Fall 2022 Liberal Arts
    Career Fair at The University of Texas at Austin this week. As we discussed, I am very interested
    in financial analyst roles and would love an opportunity to intern with {Company}.

    I have officially applied online to your company site, as you suggested, and I’ve attached my
    resume here for your reference.

    Thank you for sharing your time and knowledge at the fair!


    Thanks,
    {Your Name}


    Subject Line: Follow-up from McCombs Career Expo

    Hello {Recruiter Name},

    Thanks again for the opportunity to meet you at the Spring 2023 Liberal Arts Career Fair at The University of Texas at Austin this week. {add personal detail}

    It was great learning about {detail from meeting}, and I believe {relevant, personal experience}
    would make a great fit for {Company}.

    I would love to connect regarding a potential career with {Company} and look forward to
    hearing from you in the future.

    Thanks again for your time!

    Best,
    {Your Name}


    BEYOND THE FAIR 

    • Don’t expect to get an immediate job offer based on a relatively short (and public) discussion with recruiters
    • Consider the career fair experience as one of many touch points on your road to exploring one or several compelling career paths
    • Continue to follow job opportunities at organizations of interest
    • Follow organizations on LinkedIn and other company social media to stay up to date

     

  • Accordion 5
    Panel 5. Add body text in this space.

 
Success Strategies Workshops

For more tips and an opportunity to ask questions and collaborate with peers, join us for one of our two Career Fair Sucess Strategies workshops in February. This workshop is designed to help you:

* Strategize your approach

* Gain confidence in approaching employers using your elevator pitch

* Follow-up with employers appropriately following the career fair

Register here for the event on February 23rd, 2023 from 12pm-1pm. 

Register here for the event on February 27th , 2023 from 12pm-1pm.