About three weeks ago, I attended a career fair at my school. The decision was made last minute, so I didn't know I needed to bring a résumé. In fact, I didn't even have one because this was the first time I had taken action towards getting a summer internship (I'm a junior in college). It has taken me the past three weeks to write a résumé I feel confident sending in.


When e-mailing companies, what are the pros and cons of mentioning that I met them at the career fair? Will it be beneficial because there is a greater connection, or harmful because it raises the question of why I didn't apply sooner? Should I bother explaining everything to them, or is that just superfluous fluff? Is there any specific thing I should try to mention or be careful to avoid?

Potentially relevant details:

I don't have the actual e-mails of any of the people I spoke with, just generic [email protected] pamphlets and business cards. Furthermore, I'm having a hard time remembering the names of the specific people I spoke with.


3 Answers 3


I would say that it is useful to include, though not really beneficial or harmful. When you contact a jobs site, in your email and/or cover letter you should generally include how you found out about the company and position, and why you are interested in working for them. You found the company at a job fair, and presumably liked what you heard from their recruiter. This isn't particularly better or worse than other normal methods, but not including this information would leave a gap in your narrative.

Are they going to wonder why you didn't apply sooner? Not likely. Three weeks is a very short time, and taking that time to straighten out your resume is a good idea. You don't even have to say when the fair was if you don't want. Just say "I talked to one of your recruiters at a job fair at my school." Nothing weird there.

So certainly include it - it is useful and relevant information - but don't make it the focus of your letter. Your main points should be why you want to work for them and why they should hire you.

  • Anyone want to elaborate on the downvote?
    – David K
    Oct 20, 2016 at 15:44

This is how a Student Career job fair works: hundreds of sweaty students in business attire (more or less) queueing at tables and asking repetitive questions to frazzled, exhausted low level HR reps who are here simply to pick up resumes and who have otherwise zero authority in their company. You're one in hundreds. And you don't stand out because you're one in hundreds unless you have to have the skills set they are dreaming about. But even then, your face gets disassociated from your resume the minute the resume is in the pile.

You could mention that you were at the Career Fair, so what? They don't decide to call you in for an interview based on the fact that you were at the Career Fair but based on what's in your resume - that includes startups where the hiring process is much more personal.

  • 1
    While in general you are right, this is not at all always the case. I for example once had a lovely talk with someone at a Career Fair in germany and that person not only remembered me but actually bossted me because they liked me in our talk (which might not be the only reason why I got the job (it was an apprenticeship) but it was one of the reasons.)
    – Patta
    Oct 20, 2016 at 14:57
  • I wouldn't say low level HR reps are only there either. At my last job, some really high level managers were present and ready to hire entry positions. Basically they're looking for a particular skillset they know work and if they find it, they want it.
    – Dan
    Oct 20, 2016 at 19:40
  • My resume is pretty good, even for an alumn with experience. The HR rep's eyes light up, I get to talk to the HR team leader or the one technical staff they rounded up for the Career Fair and my resume gets put into a different pile. I have yet to get a job from a Career Fair, though :) Oct 21, 2016 at 0:04

Just mention that you talked with a representative and that he made the company sound like an ideal fit for you. Possibly mention some of the things about the company that he told you that you liked.

To be honest though it would make more sense to bring it up in an interview not your CV.

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