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Career Exploration and Success
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Career Exploration and Success
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Essentials for the Career and Internship Fair

Based on feedback from our employer organizations and our experience we want to provide you with a few pieces of advice for approaching a career and internship fair. Remember, our staff is here to help you! You can make an appointment with one of our career advisors for additional guidance and support.

Prepare your Resume

  • Your resume should reflect your most recent experiences.
  • Make an appointment to have your resume reviewed by a career advisor.
  • Submit your resume via Rutgers Handshake before the fair to demonstrate you are a serious candidate.
  • Bring enough copies of your resume and business cards to the event.

Make A Game Plan

  • Decide which employers you want to meet at the fair. You can view a full list of all employers attending the fair on Rutgers Handshake.
  • Research the employer, and pick out some specifics on the organization that you can talk about at the fair, like their vision or mission statement for example.
  • Not all recruiters are going to represent the diversity of their workforce. Research DEI initiatives and policies of the companies you are interested in, and ask questions related to the company culture to determine if it aligns with your values.

Practice your Elevator Pitch

  • A good elevator pitch is a short summary of who you are, why you are there, and the unique qualities you can offer.
  • Practice delivering your elevator pitch using these samples in front of friends or family

Prepare a List of Questions to Ask Employers

  • These questions should be pertinent to the employer.
  • Prepare a list of questions, and remember to bring a copy.

Listen to Other Candidates

  • While waiting in line at a booth, listen to some of the questions the recruiters are asking the other candidates.
  • You will feel more confident about your responses when it is your turn to speak with them.
  • Send Thank-You notes to employers. Keep the business cards of the recruiters you spoke with, and send a follow-up email. Bring a notepad and take notes after your conversation with employers, and include that information in your email later, making you stand out from the crowd. Remember, follow-up is key!

Virtual Career & Internship Fairs

The Office of Career Exploration and Success (CES) offers a series of virtual career fairs segmented by the types of recruiting opportunities and functions of each role. Below are some tips on navigating a virtual fair experience.

Before the Virtual Fair

    • Find out which which employers are attending: View the virtual fair details page to see the full list of employers who are hosting sessions.
    • Research the employers you'll meet by visiting their website and LinkedIn
    • Prepare a few talking points: The employers that you meet with want to learn more about you! Create an “elevator pitch” to introduce yourself- a short overview of your educational background, experience, and career goals.
    • Check your internet connection: Ensure your connection is stable and if possible, use wired instead of wireless connection.
    • Device: Don't use your mobile device to join, but a reliable computer so you don't get a call or text interruptions.
    • Dress professionally: This will make a good first impression on employers.
    • Find a quiet spot and a neutral background: Plan where you will be sitting during the event ahead of time—make sure it’s a space with no distractions.
    • Arrive on time: Being on time shows the employer that you’re dependable and respectful of their time as well.
    • Maintain eye contact and practice active listening: Smiling and nodding occasionally show engagement and enthusiasm.
    • Ask questions: Bring a list of prepared questions for each session.
    • View and apply to open jobs or internships: Keep the momentum going from your meetings with employers. Check out their page on Handshake and their website to see current jobs and internships.

Staff Tips to Navigate a Virtual Career and Internship Fair

Sign up for group and 1:1 sessions with employers of interest as soon as the career fair event is posted in Handshake.

Barbara Thomson

Ask for next steps and contact information. While chatting with recruiters, don't hesitate to offer to send your resume or ask for next steps in the process.

Michelle Galando

Have your profile setting in Handshake set to "Community" that way your profile will be visible to employers and will allow you to participate in our virtual career fair series.

– Lisa Goddard

I would recommend researching in advance the participating organizations so that you will know who you would like to meet with and will have some basic knowledge of their organization and potential questions to ask.

– David Bills

Sign up for as many group and one-on-one sessions as possible with employers that interest you. Research employers prior to the fair and apply for open positions on the employers website prior to the fair.

– Joe Scott

Register early and sign up for a session with employers before the date of the fair. On the day of the fair, dress for success, find a quiet virtual location, and make sure the lighting is good. And, be sure to drop by our virtual resume clinic prior to the fair to have your resume reviewed.

– Lyn Baier

Candidates rightfully focus on the 30-second pitch during their introduction, but don't forget about a strong closing statement that will reiterate your interest while reminding the employer why you are the best candidate for a follow-up interview.

– William Jones

Practice, practice, practice. Prepare an elevator pitch, memorize it, and practice saying it. Use your webcam to record yourself and critique the presentation, does the introduction flow nicely; does it sound like a conversation rather than a script? Do it again, and again, continue to record until you get it just right.

– Tamara Peters

Review the employers (and their available roles) on Handshake ahead of the fair. This way, you're familiar with what the employers are looking for and can speak directly to that role when you are networking at the fair! This strategy will show the employers that you are genuinely interested in them and help you stand out in a virtual crowd.

– Rania Plazas

1. Good idea to register for Group Sessions and 1:1 sessions at least a couple of days before the Rutgers virtual fair to secure your spot. 2. On the Virtual Fair Day, be ready to connect with employers on Rutgers Handshake a few minutes early before your scheduled time of 1:1 session (also Group Session) as you WILL NOT BE ABLE TO ATTEND THE SESSION if you don't sign up on time.

– Shalini Jain

Virtual career fairs have a similar process as traditional, in-person fairs. You can still research companies, recruiters, and positions available, and become more familiar with them. Polish up your resume and practice your pitch with CES Career Advisors. Craft a summary introducing yourself, your skills, and what you can bring to the company. Highlight your strengths and back them up with examples. The more you are passionate, honest, and true to yourself, the more 

you will be viewed as an excellent and unique candidate. And be sure you test your technology and internet speed. Let your positive attitude shine!

– Larry Jacobs

Prepare ahead of time. Just like you would for an in-person fair, take the time to review the list of registered employers, look up which jobs they are recruiting for on Handshake, research the organization, and jot down a few questions you may want to ask a recruiter if you have the opportunity to connect with them at the fair. You will feel less overwhelmed if you know which organizations you want to target.
 Practice. The last thing you want is for an organization to bypass your candidacy because you were ill-prepared or did not present yourself in a professional manner. Take the time to practice interviewing through a virtual platform such as Big Interview Resume AI.

– Catarina Caulfield

Today's college students are comfortable navigating online environments, which is excellent, but given this online confidence, students do not want to approach a virtual career fair too casually! Prepare as you would for an an-person event...know yourself, your resume, and why you are there. Make sure your resume is polished and error-free. Rehearse your introduction ("Elevator Pitch") to recruiters if given the opportunity to converse. Be prepared -- know what companies will be represented, and positions they are offering. Do a bit of research on companies of interest, and prepare to share some of your transferable skills, work experience, and achievements. Make sure your environment is well set-up, with good lighting and free of distractions. As you would in person, thank recruiters for their time, ask when decisions might be made about hiring, get his/her contact information, and follow-up with a thank you e-mail.

– Scott Borden