Prepare for the Fair: Tips for Success!

Prepare for the Fair: Tips for Success!

Are you starting the search process for an internship or job as the next step on your career path? Or perhaps you’re wondering how a career fair or networking event works? If so, you’re in luck!

Coming soon is the Career Center’s 2023 Fall Career + Internship Fair. It’s your chance to engage with a variety of the nation’s top companies interested in recruiting Pitt students and alumni. The Fall season is also the perfect time to begin exploring and registering for upcoming networking and professional development events hosted by employers. To best prepare you for our upcoming career fair days, this blog will provide tips and tricks to improve upon your networking skills and build confidence!

Find Your Fair Day(s):

Please be sure to check Handshake under the “events” tab to see which day(s) makes the most sense to attend.

You can view the employers attending the career fair by clicking and selecting “see more employers” to see a complete list. Companies are listed alphabetically, however there are filters that can be applied to narrow down your search. Try not to only search for employers by your major, as employers do not always tag every relevant major with their company when registering.

Fair Preparation Tips:

  • Know the Company! Research the companies (list of recruiters on HANDSHAKE) ahead of time by visiting their official website, LinkedIn page, and social media platforms. When researching, a few questions to think about are: what innovations or projects are they implementing? What career paths are available? What are the company’s mission and values? When researching, a few questions to think about are:
      • What innovations or projects are they implementing?
      • What career paths are available?
      • What are the company’s mission and values?
  • Resume: Your resume should reflect your skills, experiences, and background. Check out Ingrid’s Purpose and Key Points – The Engineering/Tech Resume – Pitt Career Central | University of Pittsburgh on resume tips for Science, Tech and Engineering Resume building. (When uploading your resume to our Handshake platform, ensure to set your resume to “public” so that employers have access to your resume.)
  • Update your LinkedIn & Handshake profiles. 95% of employers look at your LinkedIn profile.
  • Plan out your professional attire ahead of time. A rule of thumb is to dress a level or two above what you think the dress code at the company would be. So, even if a company may wear jeans and a polo to work, for example, you’ll want to arrive in business attire for the fair. Visit the Career Closet in WPU, second floor, if you did not bring any interview- appropriate attire with you to Pittsburgh.  You can borrow clothing from our Career Closet for free! This service is available the whole academic year for any career fair, networking event, or interview you have coming up! Schedule a Career Closet appointment via Handshake under Career Center: Appointments: Career Closet.
  • Prepare your introduction or elevator pitch, to introduce yourself to the employer. You want to keep your elevator pitch to about 60 seconds, and no longer than 90 seconds. Be prepared to both answer and ask questions! Think of it as an actual elevator moving up floor by floor:
      • The first floor is who you are and your role at Pitt.
      • The second floor is the type of opportunity you’re looking for.
      • The third floor is what makes you unique.
      • The fourth floor is why you’d be a good fit at their company.

Below is a sample elevator pitch you can refer to:

“Hi, my name is Maya and I’m a junior at the University of Pittsburgh with a focus on Electrical Engineering. I have been working in a lab part-time but am looking for an internship opportunity that will give me more hands-on knowledge of the power management industry. I’m interested in Eaton because of the cutting-edge products that are being developed for energy efficiency and I’d love to be involved in that process.”

Follow-up to the Fair Tips:

  • If the recruiter told you to apply online, make sure that you do! When the application asks how you learned of the position, include the recruiters name or mention Pitt’s Job Fair as the source. Mention that you met the recruiter at the Pitt Career Fair in your cover letter. Referrals are a great networking tool and are offer better success in securing you an interview, as employers are more likely to speak with applicants already known by colleagues.
  • Follow-up via email or on social media if they provided a way to follow-up—be sure to ask them for the best way to contact before you end the conversation at each booth. Thank them for their time and that’ll you follow their advice to try and land an opportunity with their company.
  • Connect with the recruiter on LinkedIn and follow the company if you are very interested in working for them! LinkedIn is highly recommended not only for the career fair days, but future networking opportunities. You never know when one of your connections may reach out with a position opportunity or offer the opportunity for an informational interview. If you ever need assistance setting up or updating a LinkedIn Profile, please feel free to email us!

For additional guidance, schedule an appointment with your career consultant through Handshake. Instructions: Career Center > Appointments > New Appointment > Major (virtual or in person) > Career Consultant 30-minute appointment and select a day and time to meet.

Self-guided mock interview platform: Big Interview

AI based platform designing for reviewing resumes and providing feedback: VMock

Reminder: To view a complete list of companies attending the Fall 2023 Career + Internship Fair, please check out the Handshake event page

Good luck, you’ve got this! Remember, the Career Center offers many resources, and always available to assist our career journey!

Your Pitt Career Center STEM & Engineering Consultant Team,

Ashley Steffy & Ingrid Beute

By Ingrid Beute
Ingrid Beute Career Consultant, Engineering & Science & Career Champions Program Coordinator