With Valentine’s Day tomorrow, you may have some plans; maybe you are going out on a date, hanging out with friends, or chilling in your room with some nice chocolate, some tea, and a good movie. Whatever you are doing this weekend, I hope that you are looking forward to the Career and Internship Fair on February 19! Regardless of where you are in the process of preparing to go job hunting, take a little time and read through the five steps below to help you have a strong performance at the fair. And in the spirit of Valentine’s Day, reflect on the transferable skills you can bring in from speed dating!

Step One: Do Your Research!

When first preparing to go to the Career Fair, be sure to pull up the list of companies that will be attending and work on identifying which companies you think are interesting. Think about someone who catches your eye. You may look them up on social media to see if you can discover more about them. The same concept applies to a career fair! Check out attending employer’s websites and job descriptions to start identifying companies that may be a good fit for you. It’s best to go into a career fair knowing at least a little about who is there and what you are looking for, otherwise, it can be a touch overwhelming. For our fair, you can check out the Handshake event to see a list of employers who are attending.

Step Two: Build Your Resume!

When you are preparing to go to a speed dating event or a blind date one of the first things you may do is put together a list of stories and information about yourself that you can share with those you meet to give them a well-rounded idea of who you are. You should spend time doing the professional version of this before a career fair and build a resume! A resume should be a one-page document that has three main sections: a header, an education section, and an experience section. Alongside this, there are other sections you can add to expand on those three sections such as an objective section, college leadership, awards, and skills depending on what would be most helpful to showcase to a potential employer. If you are struggling to put together the perfect resume for the Career Fair, check out the guides that are on the Boerigter Center’s website or stop in for a resume review during drop-in hours. Drop-ins are available from 3:00 pm – 4:30 pm Monday through Friday and if you cannot make any of those times, do not worry, we also have individual appointments available!

Step Three: Prepare Your Elevator Pitch!

What are a few things about you that you try to tell someone you are interested in as soon as possible? How do you get their attention? How do you make sure they remember you and don’t look confused when you say hello to them? These are things you may think about with Valentine’s Day tomorrow or with speed dating, but have you ever thought about how to make yourself stand out during a career fair? That is what your elevator pitch should do at a fair! An elevator pitch is a quick 30-60 second pitch that you give to the recruiter at the fair. It should essentially consist of three parts: your key strengths, why you are interested in the industry, and what would make your contributions unique. It’s important that you take the time to think about what you are going to say and how you are going to say it. While what you say is important, how you say it sends a message as well! Make sure you make eye contact, give a good handshake, smile, and know enough about the company you are speaking to so as to be able to comfortably carry on a conversation.

Step Four: Dress For Success!

If you have ever been interested in someone before or have prepared to go to an event where you think you may meet someone attractive, you have probably spent some time thinking about what you will wear to look and feel your best. Appearance is also a focus at a career fair because first impressions matter even in a professional relationship. The dress code for the upcoming Career Fair is business casual. When in doubt about what to wear, it is better to err on the side of dressing too formally rather than too casually. But where’s the line? Check out the Boerigter Center’s how-to guide on the website. It’s important to be remembered by potential employers for your poise, professionalism, and experience… not what you wore.

Step Five: Follow Up!

Who was that engaging, nice, funny person you connected with while you were speed dating? Surely you got their number and are planning to connect with them soon, because once you made that connection you wouldn’t want to let it fall apart! If that is a concern when romance is involved, you can be sure the same idea applies to a job fair. Make sure that you get the contact information for and follow up with the connections that you made during the event. Sending a short, to the point email within twenty-four hours after the event to the recruiter mentioning where you met, what you talked about, and how excited you are is a great starting point. Don’t make your follow up emails too long though! You don’t want to scare away your contact but you still want to keep yourself fresh in their memory.

Relax, prepare, and we look forward to seeing you there!

We hope to see you at the Career and Internship Fair on February 19 from 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm in the Great Room in the Bultman Student Center!

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