What Students Want: 10 Swag Items To Bring To Campus

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State of SwagPens, buttons, beer koozies, lanyards—the mark of an undergraduate career fair goer is a bag full of company swag. Though providing these freebies can cost you, it’s clear that they’re a huge draw for college students and a point of envy for their friends. With every booth littered with giveaways, however, it’s time for employers to step it up to get noticed. Here are the most enticing and memorable goodies that we’ve witnessed or heard of in the recruiting world!

Canvas tote bags – Eco-friendly, durable, and perfect for groceries—what’s not to love? Handing out canvas totes at a career fair is not only a statement about practicality, but it’s also a reference to your company’s commitment to sustainability.

Pen drives – College students are always on the run: to class, from class, to club meetings, to the dining commons. Pen drives are a necessity for students who need to print a research proposal last minute, or just transfer music to a buddy’s laptop.

Microfiber cleaning cloths – Traditionally used for eyeglasses and shades, cleaning cloths now serve the additional purpose of wiping clean smart phone screens. You don’t see these floating around very often, which makes them attractive fodder for students.

VouchersApple has given away vouchers for free songs; Dropbox provides students with free space. Vouchers are easy to transport, easy to distribute, and a surefire way to encourage recipients to interact with your company after the career fair.

Shot glasses – Shot glasses, the classic glassware with the collegiate silhouette, always come in handy. You may even spring for the LED light-up version to really make an impression.

Laundry bags – How often college students lose their laundry bags is oddly disproportionate to how often they do their laundry; at any rate, it’s a welcome form of swag for students hoping to look fresh for future interviews.

T-shirts – We know, T-shirts…yawn, right? We’re not just talking about stiff shirts in box silhouettes, though. Students snap up well-made shirts, especially if they come in a variety of styles and colors, and wear them all around campus to give employers great exposure.

Raffle tickets – Instead of handing out giveaways that may fall straight into an abandoned drawer, consider holding a raffle for a bigger prize such as an iPad or a pair of headphones. The allure of winning will keep your company in mind.

University gear – To ensure that students will be proud to sport your swag, outfit your booth with gear in school colors: pom-poms, foam fingers, and folders. They may not scream your brand, but career fair goers will appreciate the personalization.

Food and drinkFree food is a universal crowd-pleaser, and college students are no exception. Having energy bars and juice bottles on hand will keep energy up around the fair.

What have been the most successful freebies you’ve noticed at college career fairs? Share your thoughts in the comments!

Photo credit: nan palmero via CC

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Nathan Parcells

Nathan Parcells is VP of Marketing and co-founder of Looksharp. He has spent the past decade helping students launch their career, researching best practices for hiring millennials (including running Looksharp's annual "State of College Hiring") and sharing these insights with employers. Nathan's work has been featured in Forbes, TechCrunch, Business Insider and more. Outside of work, Nathan is an avid rock climber, back packer and Bob Dylan fan.