As the school year begins, career fair season is upon us. Regardless of what academic year you’re in, the first and most important tip is to take advantage of these fairs. In today’s market, employers are eager to find their next candidates and attending a career fair is a great way to get your foot in the door. Follow these guidelines to prepare and get the most out of any career fair you attend to this year!
Career Fair Preparation
Do your homework- Before attending a career fair, look through the list of companies in attendance and highlight those that you’re interested in the most. Be sure to do some background research on these companies to prepare relevant questions ahead of time. Do NOT ask questions that could easily be answered with a quick google search. The great thing about career fairs, is that you get to have a one-on-one conversation with that company, so make the best out of it!
Update your resume– Always, always, always have an updated resume ready. If possible, have others review it and make necessary changes as well. Print enough copies to give to your list of employers and a couple of extras just in case.
Elevator Pitch– Although a career fair is more conversational, be sure to know what key points you’d like to talk about. Have a strong introduction and share what skills or expertise makes you different.
LinkedIn- If all goes well, an employer may be interested to know a little bit more about you. In this case, they’re likely to look you up on LinkedIn or other social media for that matter. Make sure your profile is updated with the most relevant information similar to your resume.
Dress well– If you don’t already have a professional wardrobe, it’s time to go shopping. Although first impressions aren’t everything, they are very powerful and it’s important for you to show the best version of yourself.
Career Fair Tips
Arrive early- It shows that you are serious and professional– simple as that! Not to mention you’ll get to skip the long lines on the most popular employers.
Be open minded- While it’s recommended that you plan ahead to what companies you’re interested in, this is also a perfect time to get to know other companies too. Be flexible and willing to talk to anyone!
Listen/Take notes- Although it’s tempting to tell them everything about yourself and why they should hire you, listening is sometimes the best thing to do. You’ll gain much more valuable information, and it’ll surely set you apart from others. Also, don’t be afraid to take notes as they speak. It shows you’re interested in what they have to say, and it’ll help you remember any important details after the career fair.
Be concise and clear- Again, sometimes less is more. According to what company it is, build on skills that are relevant to them. Quality is much better than quantity and they’re likely to remember more of your conversation.
Be courteous- Simple morals go a long way! Show respect not only to employers but everyone around you.
Be confident-Even if you’re nervous, act confident and enthusiastic. Shake off any bad conversation, and remain positive.
Keep in touch– One of the most important aspects of attending a career fair, is following up. Ask for their business cards or a way of contact to keep the conversation going. After the career fair, take some time to submit your resume on their websites, send out thank you emails, or follow them on social media. The key to having a successful career fair, is to stay in touch.