Preparing your Student for the Job & Internship Fairs

This training resource provides information on helping students prepare for job & internship fairs. At the bottom is a link to a video showing how to use Handshake to help students find information on the Office of Career & Professional Development fairs. If you are new to Handshake you may want to watch this video first.

It’s easy to tell students to go to the job & internship fairs that the Office of Career & Professional Development holds, but it’s another thing if they ask how they can be successful at one. Attending a job fair definitely takes courage as it can be overwhelming. Breaking down a job fair in three different steps may help your student feel more ready for the event:   

  • Research
  • Prepare
  • Network


If your student may be particularly overwhelmed about participating in such a large event, you can help whittle down the list of employers they first want to speak with. Once they have a shortlist, the next step is to encourage your student to research those respective employers via Handshake through the Employers tab along with their individual websites. By fully understanding what each company does and then coming up with 2-3 questions they may want to ask the respective employer, students can have a more meaningful conversation together during the job fair.


In tandem to researching about the employers, another way to encourage students is to prepare an “elevator pitch” to better start the conversation with the recruiter. The key to convey to the student is that they may not necessarily use this “pitch,” but it’s always good to have it prepared, so they do have something they can talk about in that moment. Show them that a typical elevator pitch must be short (30 seconds – 1 minute) but yet showcases who they are. Being concise is always hard, so if your student is unsure of how to make one, here are some tips to provide them:  

  1. Start off by introducing themselves with their name, school, class year, and major
  2. Share their career aspirations or interests (what do they hope to do after they graduate?)
  3. Share a relevant experience and/or skill they’ve gained from on-campus organizations, experiential learning, or internships that would be applicable for the company
  4. End with an open-ended question to ask the recruiter to keep the conversation going strong

This is also a great video about an elevator pitch that your student can watch for further ideas.


With an elevator pitch (that’s fully practiced!) and questions in tow, please keep building up your student’s confidence. Remind them that it’s not about having a perfect impression, but it’s about creating that first step to have a meaningful connection with the employer. Encourage them to value these new interactions, grab their business card, and to be sure to write a thank you email for connecting 24 – 48 hours after the job fair with those employers.

The Office of Career & Professional Development can help support your students in further preparing them for the upcoming job & internship fairs. Please refer them to our office for a “Networking” appointment anytime!  


Watch the Video HERE!