Whether you are just starting as a college freshman or are getting ready for graduation, attending the career fair is very important. Attending the career fair is a good way to not only look for job opportunities, but to practice your speaking skills and practice speaking about yourself. I remember when I was a freshman how nerve-wracking it felt to go to an event that normally would be aimed towards the upperclassmen. The thing is, once you have gone once or twice, it begins to seem much more comfortable. Until then, you can use these tips- even if you have attended one before- to help navigate your way through the Hawk Career Fair!

  • Bring copies of your résumé!
    • Even if you don’t think you’ll talk to anyone at the career fair, you should still bring printouts of your résumé. I would recommend 1-2 per company you plan on talking to, and then extra in case you talk to someone else. Most companies expect you to have a copy for them to look at if you walk up to them, so it is important that you have some on hand! You can get copies of your résumé printed at Information Services #intheUC for only $0.25 per copy!
  • Outline your plan ahead of time
    • Before I walk into the career fair I always like to look at who will be attending to map out who I want to talk to. It allows me to get through the career fair efficiently, but also helps me prepare for conversations. I would also recommend planning out your career fair stops because you may not have time to talk to everyone. One of the great things about the UW-Whitewater Hawk Career Fair is that there will be around 160 employers available for students to talk to. If you are like me and have a busy schedule, you probably don’t have seven hours available to go to the career fair. Mapping out your career fair experience allows you to prioritize who you are going to speak to. 
  • Do your research!
    • When you are talking to companies it is important that you know what you’re talking about. A great way to do this is to research the companies you plan on talking to. Especially if you are going to apply to one of their positions, knowing what the company does is pretty important. I do want to clarify; it is okay to talk to a company at the career fair even if you didn’t do research beforehand. Doing some research before talking to companies can just make conversations flow a little better, in my opinion. 
  • Dress appropriately
    • The career fair is a pretty serious event, and that means a more serious outfit. You will probably see many students wearing a suit and tie, or business professional clothing. If you do not have these clothes, that is okay! Business casual, a nice shirt and slacks, is also acceptable. I would try to avoid jeans if possible, personally. If you do not think you have any clothing that would be appropriate, the Warhawk Success Closet can help! You can find this in Career & Leadership Development in the UC and they are open Monday through Friday between 8:00 AM and 5:00 PM.
  • Practice your elevator pitch
    • One of the last things that can help you prepare for the career fair is to practice a brief elevator pitch. An elevator pitch is normally between 30-90 seconds and is a short description about your background and experience. With so many students wanting to talk to employers it is crucial that you sell yourself in as little time as possible. If you practice your elevator pitch before you go to the career fair, you are more likely to feel comfortable saying it to employers!

I hope that some of these tips have been helpful, and that you are all excited for next week! The Fall Hawk Career Fair is October 2, from 11:00 AM until 4:00 PM in the DLK Fieldhouse in the Williams Center. Leave a comment if you have any other tips for anyone else attending a career fair soon!