1. What do I wear?

The dress code for career fairs vary, depending the type of fair it is. Consider what type of dress is most appropriate for you and for the employers you are interested in meeting. Most often, we recommend professional attire; either a business suit or business casual. Jeans and tennis shoes are not recommended.

2. What should I bring with me?

Bring copies of your resume. We do not have a place for you to store your bags and backpacks so, if possible, don't bring them. If you do, just carry them with you.

3. What kind of opportunities/employers will be there?

The Fall Career Fair is open to and attracts employers from across many industries. These employers will have full-time and/or internship opportunities available. Overall this is a great event to learn about a variety of opportunities and meet and interact with a wide array of employers that wish to hire Duke students. Go to the Company Profiles section and filter by several features to learn more.

4. How does a typical conversation between an employer and a student usually go at a career fair?

A typical conversation between an employer and a student is usually a quick conversation- approximately two to five minutes. During this time expect to introduce yourself, tell the type of opportunity you are seeking, and share any relevant information the employer may want to know about you or your knowledge of the company. The employer will usually respond by sharing information about their opportunities and their company, followed by how to apply and their hiring timeline. It’s a brief but valuable exchange of information.

5. What are the competencies that employers desire most in candidates?

Authenticity is always at the top of the list! And, the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) did some research and found that to be career-ready, you will want to be proficient in:

  • Critical Thinking/Problem Solving
  • Oral/Written Communications
  • Teamwork/Collaboration
  • Digital Technology
  • Leadership, Professionalism/Work Ethic
  • Career Management (**see below)
  • Global/Intercultural Fluency

**Duke has defined additional competencies specifically for Career Management that you will need to be intentional about developing while you are here.

  • Reflect
  • Connect
  • Self-Awareness
  • Research
  • Adapt
  • Communicate
  • Implement

6. What are positive ways to stand out when talking to employers?

Some positive ways to stand out when talking to an employer are to present yourself professionally, to indicate you have some knowledge of the organization, and to follow up immediately after the fair.

First, you will want to introduce yourself briefly and articulately, and explain what opportunities you are seeking. This will help the employer get a sense of who you are.

Then, provide the employer with some indicators that you are familiar with their organization. You can even say outright “I’ve done some research on your company, and it seems that some of the projects you are engaged in align with my interests.”

The employer will take notice that you have done your research in advance of the event and have put some thought into how your skills and interests may fit with their organization. It is okay to create notes on employers in advance of the event and bring them with you--for reminders as you are circulating the event.

6. How should I follow up with employers after the fair?

If your interest in the company continues after speaking with the representative at the fair, ask about the best way to follow up and to apply to opportunities. You will want to keep the momentum of your interactions going, so apply immediately. Many employers keep an eye out to see if students they met at the fair applied to the role so they can determine which students were truly interested in their company and opportunities.

If you are able to get the contact information of a company representative, sending a brief thank you email is a nice way to seal the interaction in a positive manner. However, some employers prefer not to give out their contact information, so don’t be offended if they decline.