Do you hate career fairs? Is anyone really a fan of the crowded rooms, long lines and rushed conversations? Well here are some tips & tricks to set you apart from the competition and walk out the career fair feeling like a champ!
Get PREPARED! Do your research! Find out which companies will be there, as the career fair website may have a list of companies that will be in attendance. Think about what jobs you want to apply for at each company. If the job titles aren’t listed online but the companies are, try searching the Company’s career page for open positions. Pay close attention to the jobs in your particular industry. If you get lucky, you may find the recruiter’s name and can email your resume in advance.
It wouldn’t be a bad idea to make your own list of companies and have handy to make sure you hit your top choices first. Use it as a checklist as you go around and be strategic about the companies you talk to.
Have your elevator speech ready! Write it down, practice it with a friend or in the mirror. Pay attention to your posture and tone (if properly used it exudes confidence). Key things to bring are several copies of your resume (depending on the amount of companies that are present) and your business card (if you have one). Make sure you have a STRONG resume, one that will stand out against hundreds of other resumes.
Get ready to PROMOTE yourself! Arrive early! It will take some time to wait in line to register and to wait in line (once again) to meet with each company.
Dress professionally. Wear comfortable shoes, as you may be standing on your feet for hours. Because career fair events consist of back-to-back personal conversations with employers, make sure you are well-groomed (for example; fresh breath and light perfume or cologne).
When it’s your turn to step up, have your resume out in hand. With a firm handshake and a smile, gracefully share your elevator speech. You can either give your resume to the professional right before you start your elevator speech or wait until after the conversation starts going. Ask questions about the Company’s mission statement or values, a recent news story about the Company or something pertaining to that specific industry. After the conversation, ask the professional for a business card and if you can follow up with them. Write a note on the back of the card of something memorable during the conversation (this will make sense in the after phase).
PROMISE the hiring managers that you are the best for the job! Follow up with each person you spoke with via email. In the email, be sure to share something that was brought up during the discussion that you have in common (for example; sharing the same hometown). Remember that little note you wrote on the back of their business cards? Perfect timing to use it! You can also bring up any key points that you made during the discussion about your skills and accomplishments. Think of something that would make you stand out against your competition (example; internship experience or SGA President). This is also good timing to add any selling points you wanted to bring up during the conversation and didn’t get a chance to. Pretty much, explain that you are the best candidate for the position.Follow the Prepare, Promote and Promise guide and you will be a champ at your next career fair!
Until next time, stay FLY!
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