It’s Not Too Late! Career Fair Crash Course

Filed in Career Fair, From the Staff by on September 18, 2017

Life at WPI moves fast. By the time my sister started classes for her first year at UMass Amherst earlier in the month, I was already preparing for my first two major tests. While I know many thrive with the busy pace, commitments that seem far away can sneak up in a heartbeat. All this being said, if you’re not already aware, the fall career fair is TWO DAYS AWAY. If it’s your first time or you don’t know where to start, the career fair may seem incredibly overwhelming, but don’t worry, there’s still plenty of time to prepare. If you have a few spare hours this week, follow this career fair crash course to ensure a successful experience on Wednesday.

Before the Career Fair:

  • Log onto Handshake, and look at the list of companies  that are going to be attending the fair. Use the filters to find companies that interest you, and make a list of ~10-12 employer you want to visit at the fair. You want to be able to ask questions at the fair, so use Handshake, company websites, and social media pages to find out more information. If you have the time, it’s also great to apply to posted jobs before the fair, so you can ask about them in person.
  • Create or update your resume to reflect your most recent experience and qualifications. Use the CDC tipsheet on Resume Writing for advice and samples, and stop by drop-in hours at the CDC anytime from 10 – 4 to get feedback. Because it’s the week of the career fair be warned that drop in hours will be very busy, so plan accordingly.
  • Prepare an elevator pitch to summarize your skills and interests to employers. The CDC tipsheet has an easy to follow template to help brainstorm and organize your ideas. At the fair, keep in mind that the information in your pitch doesn’t have to be delivered all at once, but can be worked into the flow of a conversation if it feels more natural that way.

What to bring to the fair:

  • Wear the nicest professional attire you have with you. If that’s a full suit, awesome. If it’s a polo and khakis, that works too.
  • Bring your WPI ID, a folder to keep papers, and pen/paper to take notes.
  • As a rule of thumb, print DOUBLE the number of resumes you think you’ll need.
  • Download The Fairs App (available on Apple and Android) to help you navigate on the day of the fair.

At the fair:

  • Take some time to walk around and get comfortable before talking to employers
  • Don’t go to your number one company right away; warm up by talking to a few other employers first.
  • Drink water in between visits to stay calm, cool, and collected.
  • Do your best to make a good first impression; you never know where a conversation could lead.

After the fair:

  • If you heard about any positions at the fair, be sure to follow up and apply. About a week after the fair, a list of career fair contacts will be available under the resources tab on Handshake. If you had a particularly meaningful or informative conversation with an employer, you can send a thank you note. Sending a thank you note can reaffirm your interest in a company and set you apart from other candidates. Follow the CDC tipsheet for advice, and utilize drop in hours if you have any further questions. 

Even if you’re not looking for a job or internship or don’t think you’ll find anything; attending the career fair can still be incredibly valuable. When I went in the fall of my freshman year I didn’t walk away with any job offers, but by seeing how other students prepared and interacted with employers I was ready when the spring fair came around. For questions or more information, feel free to email the peer advisors at or check out some of the events coming up over the next few days.

Monday 18th 6 – 7pm Fuller Upper Why First Year Students Should Go to the Career Fair

Tuesday 19th 5 – 6 pm SL 105 Interview Skills workshop


Good luck!


About the Author ()

I'm a sophomore double majoring in Robotics Engineering and Mechanical Engineering from Plymouth, MA. As a Peer Advisor for the Career Development Center, I'm excited to use my experiences to help others throughout the major selection/career search processes. On campus I'm also involved in Engineers Without Borders, Crimson Key, and Running Club. Outside of school, I enjoy playing guitar, hiking, and following baseball.

Comments (3)

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  1. jrlocke says:

    Wow this was very helpful and informative. Thanks Van!

  2. Lauren Farris says:

    Good luck at the fair, Van!

  3. Van Harting says:

    Thanks Lauren! I hope your midterms go well!