Career Fair Guide

A career fair is a great opportunity to meet a number of employers from a variety of industries, find potential job and internship opportunities, explore different career paths, and practice networking.

Most UT colleges and schools offer career fairs each fall and spring semester. Some even offer a summer fair for new grads to find jobs!

Why Participate in a Career Fair?

While online job searching can bring fruitful results, career fairs can allow you to learn more about a company or job and make a good impression before applying. Additional benefits include:

  • Network with potential employers: 80% of the job offers come from networking. Career fairs are a great platform to engage in meaningful connections. This can be especially useful if your resume may not stand out against the crowd. 
  • Find your place in the industry: The real-world isn't split by majors and most employers don't care what your major is. You should feel free to attend any UT career fairs to learn more about a company, job, or internship of interest.
  • Get your resume reviewed: A career fair help you stand out by giving you the opportunity to directly talk to an employer and it's an opportunity to get professional feedback on your resume. The professional might have valuable insight like suggestions on how to improve your resume.
  • Interview practice: Every career fair that you attend gives you the opportunity to practice your interview skills. For instance, getting the opportunity to introduce yourself to a variety of employers from different industries (a challenging feat we are told), giving a firm handshake, responding to common interview questions, and asking questions about the companies. All of these are handy skills in the interview process.

Types of Career Fairs

With the pandemic, there are now 2 types of career fairs: virtual and in-person. While they have similar goals of enabling the connection between employers and students, each medium brings certain nuances to be mindful of. Read more through the guides below to understand the type of career fair you might be attending and what you should do to be successful.

In-Person Career Fairs

In-Person Career Fairs are held on-campus often in the Union or one of the large gym spaces. Employers have booths set up where students can chat with a recruiter and learn more about a company. Sometimes the line gets long to chat with a popular company! Check out our guide to help you prepare: 

Virtual Careers Fairs

Virtual Career Fairs allow you to chat with participating employers virtually through text or video chat. These fairs are often hosted through a platform like Handshake, CareerEco, or Symplicity. Every platform has different set up requirements and parameters for how the virtual fair works. If you're attending a virtual career fair in Handshake, make sure you review our Handshake Career Fair guide to have the best experience: 

Not sure how to talk to employers? Check out our guide:

Find Fairs to Attend

Each year, there are multiple fairs happening around the UT campus. While you can attend any of the fairs across campus, the following Career Fairs are especially designed for CNS students:

  • Technology and Science Career Fair: Join us every September and February for our main fair including in-person and virtual options. Offers a great opportunity for graduate and undergraduate students from all majors to engage with employers, especially those interested in technical roles like software engineering and data analytics. 
  • Bioscience and Biotechnology Career Fair: Join us every October for a chance to meet with employers and graduate school programs from the bioscience, biomedical, and biotechnology industries.
  • #HookAnOffer Career Fair: Still looking for a job after you graduate? Join us in the June after you graduate to connect with employers with immediate full-time hiring needs.

Learn more details about the fairs above and the rest of the fairs across campus:

After the Fair

Regardless of the medium of the fair, the follow-up actions remain the same. Begin by spending the evening after the fair recopying any notes you took.

Send thank you emails to any employer who shared their email during their session. You can also check for emails in employer profiles that are set as public. Read more about writing emails from our resource below:

View and apply to open jobs or internships. Keep the momentum going from your meetings with employers. Check out their page on Handshake to see current jobs and internships. Recruiters are logging into Handshake daily to find students for open jobs—so it’s the best place to apply! If you’re not ready to apply yet, save the jobs you like so you’ll get notifications to apply before the deadlines. Want to all our Handshake tips and tricks? Check out our Handshake Guide: 

Ethical Practices for CNS Students

The College of Natural Sciences Career Services Office strives to provide services and programs to empower students in career exploration, professional development and networking opportunities to connect with employers.  It's important for the professional development of students that they learn to conduct themselves in an ethical manner.  Failure to honor agreements with recruiters reflects poorly on the student as well as the University. 

All students are expected to read and understand these guidelines in addition to the consequences of violating these guidelines.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the offer guidelines for employers?

CNS Career Services encourages employers to follow the offer guidelines we provide.  The timelines provided are suggestions and we are unable to force employers to follow these timelines.  Learn more about our hiring and offer guidelines for employers at the link below:

Who are third party recruiters?

Third party recruiters are individuals who are engaging in recruiting activities, but work outside of a company's official recruiting department. They will often pass along resumes to companies that are hiring and manage the interview process. They, themselves, aren't directly hiring.

What are "exploding offers"?

“Exploding offers” require a student to accept a job offer within a very short period of time or face having the offer rescinded or base salary diminished. Requiring a verbal acceptance in order to receive a written offer is considered an exploding offer. "Exploding offers" are against the hiring guidelines that CNS Career Services recommends employers follow. We consider any timeline of less than a week to accept an offer to be an exploding offer.

I am an international student. What should I do to prepare for the career fair?

Check out which employers will be attending the career fair and find out what the hiring practices are for those particular companies. Interstride offers a resource where you can see which companies have secured H1B visas or their employees in the past.

Be prepared to discuss your work status in the U.S. with potential employers.  If you should need further assistance, please contact the International Office.

What information should I discuss with the recruiter at the career fair?

Tell the recruiter your name, year in school, and what type of position you are interested in (i.e. full-time or internship). Next, tell them your major, your career interests, and why you came to this particular company’s table. Do your research on the company beforehand. The recruiters want to see sincere interest in their company. Offer a firm handshake and make eye contact. Be prepared to present your resume. 

Show the recruiters that you have the qualifications their company is looking for AND you are a good candidate for their company. 

Answer all questions honestly. If the recruiter asks for your GPA, tell them. 

Can I change my mind on an offer I already accepted?

No. Reneging is the term used by recruiters when a previously accepted offer is now turned down.  CNS Career Services takes this very seriously and it is deemed unacceptable and can result in various consequences. Honor your acceptance of your first job offer as a contractual agreement with the employer. You should decline any other offers and withdraw from any interview processes after you accept an offer.

Reneging on an offer can result in the following consequences:

  • Removal/block from Handshake
  • Restriction from recruiting events
  • Meeting with the Director of CNS Career Services
  • Being reported to the UT Office of Student Conduct and Academic Integrity