What to do before attending career events

Prepare yourself

Research companies and schools

Hundreds of employers attend campus-wide and discipline-specific career fairs and events annually. It’s a great way for them to help students learn about their company or organization, recruit talent for open roles, and learn more about what the future workforce values. It’s also a great way for you to learn about the world of work, practice networking, and gather information about employers that interest you. Check out the current list of events.

Attending a career fair can be nerve-racking but that shouldn’t hold you back. Read on to learn what you can do to set yourself up for success.

Equip yourself with information

A great way to set yourself apart from your peers is to initiate informed, interesting conversations with recruiters and company representatives. Rather than asking simple questions like, “what do you do”, put in a little bit of time to research the company or organization you are interested in. As you research, try to find out the following:

  • What are this company’s goals and priorities?
  • What does this company value or care about?

The more you know about a company, the better equipped you are to demonstrate how you will be a good fit for their culture and can contribute to the achievement of their goals. The CareersOnline job board is here to help you through this process. The employers you plan to meet at an upcoming fair may already have a job posted. If they do, write a cover letter and resume for that job and bring your application materials to the fair.

Identify your questions

Don’t hold off on attending career fairs until you’re ready to look for work. While they’re a great resource to look for part-time, seasonal, and full-time work, they’re also a great place to gather insights about your career options, meet new people, and find inspiration.

Clarifying what you want to achieve by attending a specific career fair can help you make decisions about who to meet, what to ask, and even how to dress.

Have your resume reviewed

Staff at the UBC Career Centre are available to help you learn how to effectively communicate your qualifications, characteristics, skills, and experiences on your resume and in your conversations with employers. Book an appointment with them through CareersOnline.

Practice your pitch

Consider what makes you unique. The key to having a memorable conversation with an employer is a sense of novelty and excitement. Your personality, past experience, values, and hobbies can all be used to help the employer understand what makes you stand out. Don’t underestimate how important it is to connect genuinely. Get comfortable communicating who you are, what you care about, and how you spend your time. Remember, confidence takes preparation and practice.

Build your confidence through the following activities:

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How should I dress?

A good rule of thumb is to dress in business casual attire when attending a career fair. There’s no need for 3-piece suits and blazers, but put some extra attention into your outfit and personal presentation. Avoid shorts, torn denim, t-shirts, sneakers, and other casual items unless you think a more casual look reflects the culture of the companies you hope to work for.

What should I bring?

An open mind, positive attitude, and interest in connecting with others and questions for employers are essential. While many employers will prefer you submit your resume online, it’s never a bad idea to have a couple of copies on hand. You can also bring business cards if you have them.

What should I expect?

Employers will have their own booth where you’ll find a variety of promotional materials, often including free swag. The representative attending the fair will be able to answer your questions and refer you to more information. They may also be actively recruiting for open roles and hold informal interviews.

When attending a career fair in person, there will also be maps, other signage, and staff to help you navigate the event.

Additional resources