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The University of Houston Career Services office hosts multiple career fairs a year. From major and college specific, to an all majors fair, dozens of employers show up looking for new hires and students who could intern for their companies.

If you have never been to a career fair, the prospect might seem overwhelming. That’s why we broke down the top five things to know for your next career fair, whether it be virtual or in person.

Dress professionally

The recommended attire for all career fairs, in person or online, is business professional. This means that suits should be long-sleeved in black, gray or navy, and your suit jacket should match your bottoms, and yes you should still wear professional bottoms over Zoom. If you are wearing a skirt it should reach your knees. Your shirt should be white or a lighter color and if you wear a tie it should be solid colored and not distracting.

Your shoes should have a heel less than two inches and be a neutral color, or for men be polished leather with dark socks. If you choose to wear jewelry it should be simple and conservative. Your bag should be a small purse or another professional bag, and you should also have a portfolio to carry your resumes.

Bring or upload resumes

If you don’t have a resume printed out (or uploaded to Cougar Pathway for virtual career fairs) you can’t hand anything to your potential employers. Make sure you print out at least a dozen resumes. It is always better to have some left over rather than run out. You can print them on campus in the library quite easily.

Make sure you have something to carry your resumes in. It looks bad to hand someone a resume that has been crinkled. If you’ve seen the scene in Legally Blonde, Elle always had her resumes in a nice portfolio. Be like Elle Woods.

Practice your interviewing skills

This one may feel a little silly, but making sure you aren’t stumbling over your words or generally awkward during your meeting with employers is an important step to a good first impression. Networking is real.

Career Services offers multiple worksheets that list common interview questions so you can have your answers ready. Make sure you know what you’re going to say if someone asks you to “tell me about yourself.”

RSVP

Make sure you RSVP for the fair in Cougar Pathway and have your resume uploaded to the website as well. Career Services reviews every resume uploaded into Cougar Pathway, so give yourself enough time to make any changes before your career event. This is an important step so you can get into these career fairs in the first place.

Research the employers

Do not go in blind. Make sure you look at the list of companies that are going to be at the fair. Make a list of the ones you want to talk to and make sure you know what the companies do, what you like about them and what positions they have open that you are interested in. This gives you something to actually talk about with those at the career fair.

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