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San Diego State University

Career Services

Career Fair Networking Guide

Note: This guide is available as a printable PDF.

Take advantage of the opportunity to meet employers and alumni who want to talk to you about their occupations and employment opportunities. Gather information on career options, develop a network of contacts, identify job openings, or secure an interview.

Use these tips to network at a Career Fair:

  • Expand your focus: Approach employers that appear unrelated to your major. Technical companies offer non-technical positions, and vice-versa. A technical company may have openings in human resources, marketing, public relations, or accounting. Employers do look for candidates with a strong liberal arts background and internship experience.
  • Communicate your purpose: If you are looking for a job, state the type of position that interests you. If you are gathering information, tell employers that you are exploring career options and are interested in learning about them.
  • Make a strong first impression: When meeting employers, introduce yourself offer a firm handshake, make eye contact, state your purpose, ask questions, listen and act professionally. If you plan to request an interview, dress in business attire.
  • Highlight your strengths: Be prepared to discuss your qualifications that are most related to the job. Include clear, concise examples to demonstrate your qualifications. Practice your verbal presentation (a 30- to 60-second "commercial" about yourself) so you can approach employers with confidence.
  • Bring your resumé: Bring enough resumés to give to organizations you are targeting. Carry them in a portfolio. Do not include "expand my options" as one of your objectives. (See resumé pointers.)
  • Ask questions: Use questions to increase your knowledge of industry trends, job options, and career paths. Try questions like these:
    • What entry-level positions in (your career interest) are available in your organization?
    • What kind of background do you look for when filling these positions?
    • How do you see this field changing over the next 5 years?
    • What advice would you give me if I wanted to break into this field?
    • How did you get involved with this industry/organization? What keeps you involved?
  • Follow-up: Request a business card for your records. If you want a job interview, follow up with a thank you note or email within 24 hours, and include your resumé.