ACES + LAS Career Fair(s)
Sept. 26, 2024, 1:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. (Student registration opens August 1, 2024)
Workshops + Information Sessions
Visit Handshake @ Illinois to find information about Career Fair Prep Workshops and Employer Information Sessions.
Planning for Success
Tips for Preparing for an In-person Career Fair
- Select appropriate attire.
- Determine the location of the fair in advance and figure out logistics of getting to the fair.
- Review employers who are attending and strategize which ones you will visit.
- Ensure your ability to attend - finish assignments ahead of time; organize work schedules around the fair time.
- Practice your elevator pitch.
- Apply for jobs before the fair so the employer knows you are interested.
- Attend pre-career fair workshops.
- Update your resume. (See Resume Tips below)
Tips for Preparing for a Virtual Career Fair
Depending on the platform, virtual career fairs can feel similar to online discussion boards or they can be like live Zoom meeting sessions where employers can schedule the meeting in advance and talk via online video. For the online discussion board type, after you log in, you can choose to “enter” various rooms within the virtual career fair. Each room houses a different employer participating in the career fair. When you enter a virtual room, the employer receives a notification. At that point a representative from the employer will greet you via a chat function. Make sure you reciprocate the greeting. For the live meeting sessions like Handshake @ Illinois uses, you will have the opportunity to meet the recruiter for a one to one 10-minute session or groups sessions.
You’re going to want to register beforehand. For the Handshake @ Illinois fairs, you will have specified 10-minute sessions that you can register for. If you don't see a spot for you, keep looking! Spots open up regularly as new staff are added to the fair. It is also important to register early so that you can troubleshoot any issues before the career fair, and it will allow you to review the employers participating in the fair. If you select to participate in a group session, be aware that you will not be able to schedule a 1:1 during that entire 30 minutes.
Test your devices/wifi before the fair. It is preferable to have camera capabilities for a virtual career fair. Be sure to download necessary software for the fair a day in advance. In this way, you will have enough time to troubleshoot any issues. Consider using headphones to ensure a quiet and quality conversation.
Be sure to allow for pop-ups and use Chrome as your browser.
Pro tip: Do a dry run (practice logging in) the day before the virtual career fair to ensure smooth actual fair experience
A quiet location is ideal for quality interaction. If you have camera capabilities, you need to make sure it is distraction-free for employers. Some students make the mistake of having the camera too low – place your laptop on a box or elevate it in some way so that the camera is actually at eye-level. Conversely – cameras pointing to ceiling tiles is also distracting
Pro-tip: You can set your background in a zoom call with a different room so you appear more professional.
Go to: Settings -> In Meeting (Advanced) and then enable Virtual background
While you are on a Zoom meeting, you can find a “Choose a virtual background” button on the Video setting tap located left bottom.
For curated tips try these resources:
Help Article: Handshake's Guide to Attending a Virtual Career Fair
Instagram Video: Virtual Fairs - Your ticket to getting hired.
There is no one way to write a resume. Some general rules are:
- Do not use a template!
- Your name should be prominent. Try 16-point font.
- Be consistent. Consistency makes your resume easier to read.
- Include quantitative data in your resume to show impact or scale.
- Make sure there is enough white space on your resume so that it is easy to read. Recruiters like space to take notes.
- Concentrate on the knowledge, skills, and abilities that you have, and make sure you represent them in your resume.
- Do not use pronouns such as "I" in your resume. In resumes the "I" is understood. Start with the action verb.
For additional ideas, below are some resume resources:
Make a list of companies you want to talk to at the Career Fair. Research these companies to learn their product line, their locations, and what positions the company is seeking to fill. Determine how you can add value to their organization. Practice delivering your introduction to an employer including some of your research.
Ways to do company research:
- LEXIS NEXIS Database
- Find alumni working for the company and ask them about what they like about the organization.
- Review the organization's website and Handshake @ Illinois for more information.
- Utilized LinkedIn to find alumni that work at the organization and make connections.
Visit the ACES Career Services office during drop-in hours to learn more about how to conduct employer research.
What to Wear
The Career Fair is all about making good first impressions, so how you appear to recruiters is very important. Even if the fair is virtual, you still need to feel great and look professional (at least from your camera view.)
- If you choose to wear earrings make sure they are not too distracting. Small hoops or stud earrings may be best. Large hoops and dangling earrings tend to draw attention away from you and toward the earrings.
- Heels tend make you stand up straighter, however, the career fair covers a lot of square footage. Make sure you can get to all of the employers without getting sore feet/blisters. Heels that are 1 to 2 inches are best.
- If you are wearing a skirt, it should not be too short. A general rule of thumb. If you would look good going to the bars, you are not appropriately dressed for the career fair.
- Recommended suit colors are gray, black, and navy blue. Dress slacks and a sports coat are also acceptable.
- White or light colored shirts appear more business professional. Make sure your shirt is ironed. Wrinkles do not impress recruiters.
- If you are wearing a tie, practice tying it before the fair. You can find online videos with demonstrations of how to tie them if you are not familiar.
- Remember to bring a padfolio to carry your resumes, business cards, and note paper.
- Think about where you can store your bags/coats. Some fairs offer bag checks, and others do not.
- Select your career fair attire at least a week before the event. Make sure your hem is the appropriate length for the shoe you plan on wearing.
- Shoes should be free of scuffs and dust.
- Tattoos, like jewelry, can be distracting. Consider ways to remove the focus from the tattoo back to you such as covering a tattoo.
- Hair should be away from the face. It is important for recruiters to be able to see your eyes.