We have all been there; standing in line in a room full of strangers, attempting to catch the eye of that special someone while rapid firing facts about ourselves. No, I am not talking about speed dating; I am talking about career fairs. While nerve-racking, they can be a great way to get out and meet representatives of companies that interest you. Here are a few tips to maneuver the crowds like a networking Jedi:
This goes without saying, but I still need to say it. At career fairs, representatives will be meeting you for 5 minutes at the most, so you need to make a great first impression. If you look your best, interviewers and representatives can focus on what you are saying and not the stain on the front of your shirt. Iron your outfit, brush your hair and pack a few breath mints, your interviewers will be happy to have met with you!
- Before you go you will need to know who you are going to see at the career fair. Read over all of the companies from the event site and create a list of the top ten companies you would like to visit, the first five being companies that you would love to meet, the last 5 being ones that you would like to see.
- After you have your rough plan of attack do some research on LinkedIn, Facebook , and the company website. Ask yourself these questions: How did the company get to be great? Why am I interested in the company? Why do I think I would be an incredible fit for the company?
- Last but not least, check out the company’s job boards, this way you will be able to point out that you see they have a need for XYZ and you can fill this need with your superior professional skills.
Have the Right Tools
- Similar to networking events and client meetings, you need to have your information together. Double check your resume by making sure it is cleaned up and neutral to appeal to several industries (Unless it’s an industry specific career fair. In that case showcase your skills for that industry). Make enough copies so that you don’t run out on nice resume paper.
- Practice your elevator speech beforehand so if you get nervous you’ll have something planned (don’t make it sound robotic, but if you have your basic speech down, you will l be able to work it into a normal conversation. Remember it is not only what you say but how you say it):
- “Hello my name is Elyse Lopez, I have been interested in your company for some time and I noticed that you had an opening in the sales department. I think you will find that my resume reflects a skill set that would very well suit the position, as I have extensive experience in corporate sales. I would be very interested in setting up a more formal interview.”
Be sure to arrive to the career fair early so that you are able to see at least your top three, and if you’re lucky, all of them. We wish you good luck on your search, and remember if you need a friend in the process, Brightwing would be more than happy to help you out!
Author: Elyse Lopez
Image from: www.newschools.org