4 Tips for Making the Most of a Grad Fair

Nothing beats having a bunch of recruiters under one roof and real people to talk to about your future and interests. However, graduate career fairs can be overwhelming. What’s the ultimate goal? Get maximum benefits from these brief windows of opportunity (plus a nice variety of freebies!).  Maximize your time and resources with these three tips.

1. Plan ahead
Time is limited and recruiters will be approached by hordes of eager students, so you need to be on the ball and have a game plan. Before attending, check which universities will be there and target your top picks. Think about what you want to get from the event. For example, do you want to research an industry sector; pick up information about a specific skill program; get info on application processes; or network? Update your resume. While not all recruiters accept resumes at graduate fairs, some might and it will be a useful tool to refer to when talking to recruiters about your skills and experience.

2. Presentation matters if you want to stand out
The jury is out on how you should dress for graduate recruitment fairs. Some say suited and booted, while others say smart casual. It is important that you are professional, but clean and tidy is vital. How you look is only one part of the presentation package.

When you approach recruiters at fairs:

  • Top tip: Prepare and practice a mini ‘pitch’ about yourself. It doesn’t have to be a hard sell of your skills, just a simple, brief introduction. Know what you have to offer – your skills, qualities and experience
  • Be purposeful, confident and enthusiastic, but also polite and courteous
  • Be ready with specific questions to ask
  • Smile

3. Make notes for future reference
Bring a notepad and pen to write down the highlights about each university. Ask recruiters for their business card. At the end of the fair if you find a school you are interested in, send them an email. You may find that the contacts you made at the fair are the very ones who will be reviewing applications and conducting interviews.

4. Most important, ENJOY the process
This isn’t meant to be an intimidating experience, but one that will ease your mind during your graduate school search. Network, ask the questions you want, and be open to schools you haven’t heard of before. With more than 42,000 graduate campuses, there are bound to be a few you aren’t familiar with. Best of luck and make the most of this journey!

About the Author:

Meighan Avalos is the newest addition to the Northeastern University–Charlotte campus. As the Assistant Director of Admissions and Industry Engagement, Avalos serves as a liaison for the industrial sector of energy, engineering, construction, manufacturing, logistics and distribution as well as aerospace and defense. She works to build alliances with these local companies, helping them to leverage Northeastern’s resources for workforce development, corporate education, co-op, and research opportunities. She received a Bachelor of Arts in Human Resources from High Point University, where she also served as a Senior Admissions Counselor.

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