Prepare for a Career Fair

Career Fairs brings together students, alumni and employers for networking, recruiting and career conversations.

You'll have the chance to meet with dozens of organizations and alumni from different industries interested in recruiting for full-time employment and summer internships. These organizations are excited to be back on campus and are seeking out Princeton students to join their teams.

Tips, resources and FAQs to help prepare for a career fair

Student interacting with employer at career fair

Upcoming Fairs

For more information about each fair (registration dates, location, employers attending, etc.), please click the name of the event below.

Fall Career Fair Prep Session
Sep 11, 2024, 4:30 pm
  • Graduate Students
  • Undergraduate Students

Before the Fair

What employers are attending the career fair?

HireTigers Career Fairs present a great deal of opportunity in a short amount of time, and it's important to arrive with a plan. Making connections with alumni and employers before you start looking for internships and jobs can help you get your foot in the door. It is also a great way to explore the types of industries and professions that match your skills and interests.

You can view the list of employers who will be there in Handshake. In addition to a description of the organization, you can find what types of positions they are hiring for and other details.

How can I prepare for the career fair?

It is a great idea to review and update your resume with a career adviser during a drop-in advising session. Many employers will collect resumes at the in-person career fair. Bring a few copies with you to hand out at the event.

We're also holding a prep session on Feb. 21 for undergraduate and graduate students to help you understand how to best prepare for both the in-person and virtual career fairs. 

You can also make a list of questions for employers and alumni you plan to approach. Most questions will depend on your own motivations and research, but a few general questions that are helpful include:

  • "Can you tell me more about the projects interns/new employees have worked on in the past?"
  • "What do you love about your work?"
  • If the person is an alum(na), ask how their Princeton experience was helpful in their career and about the work they do.

What should I wear to the fair?

We recommend that you wear business casual attire to the career, but it can depend on the industry that you are interested in.

Pay attention to how employees dress at recruiting events and look at images of employees on the organization’s website for clues to the dress code. Keep in mind that “appropriate dress” is subjective, and today's five-generation workforce means expectations may differ among staff or at different levels of leadership.

Ask a career adviser or employer engagement team member if you'd like input on the outfit you have in mind.

How do I introduce myself to employers?

This is a perfect time to use your elevator pitch, which is a quick, professional introduction to help you get a conversation started. 

Sample Pitch Format

“Hi____, my name is___. I am studying___and will graduate in___. I am looking to/I am interested in____. I recently worked on a project that___. I am interested in learning about___. Can you tell me more about___.”

Sample Pitch

“Hi, my name is Theo Tiger and I am a junior studying computer science at Princeton. 

I am interested in cybersecurity and web development because they challenge me to use my analytical skills to keep information secure. Last semester, I worked with a professor to develop a program that analyzed the psychological effects of social media on Twitter users. Right now I am looking for summer internship opportunities and I am interested in learning more about your company. 

Can you tell me about the internship opportunities your company provides?”

Need pointers on your elevator pitch?

An elevator pitch is your short (30-60 second) professional introduction that will help you start a conversation with potential employers. Learn how to put one together in five steps.

During the Fair

When is the best time to attend the fair?

You may attend the fair at whatever time is most convenient with your schedule. Employers will be on site for the entirety of the fair, and many will hold additional information sessions, coffee chats, interviews, and other recruitment activities in the days following the career fair.

How do I make a positive first impression with employers?

Make eye contact during conversations, don't interrupt and thank everyone for their time. If there are other students around, don't hesitate to invite them into the conversation. 

Also, be aware of the time. There may be a line of students behind you who are also trying to speak with the same person.

How do I effectively end a conversation with an employer?

Thank the person for their time and gather contact information so you can follow up.

Ideally, mention something you learned from them to establish a connection. You can also ask about other recruitment events that will be taking place on campus.

Who can I contact if I have a question?

During the fair, careers advisers will be available to answer questions. If you have any questions in advance of the fair, please email [email protected].

After the Fair

How do I follow-up after the event?

There are many ways to follow up with recruiters you meet at a career fair. 

If you receive a business card, send an email, or call to establish contact. When you follow up, thank the contact for their time and reference something you learned during your conversation or the next steps you plan to make because of the interaction. 

Want to keep track of employers that you met at the fair? Handshake allows you to "follow" employers you are interested in. Once you follow an employer, you will be notified when they post jobs, host events, or attend fairs at Princeton University.  

You may send a follow-up to an employer after you apply for a position, attend an event, or network with them at a Career fair, by messaging them in Handshake. Please follow this guide to learn more about Handshake's messaging feature.

Many employers will also be hosting campus recruitment activities after the fair, which is a great way to further engage with companies of interest. You can find a list of upcoming employer info sessions on Handshake.

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