Conquering Career Fairs

Last semester I had the opportunity to go to the Economics and Business Fair. Even though I am a Political Science major, I still valued and appreciated the experience. I had the chance to interact with a few employers and ask them for advice for college students looking for jobs or internships at a career fair. Some of the employers I got to interview came from different organizations like Sennco Solutions, Thomson Reuters Corporation, Commercial Real Estate Agency (CBRE), and Gordon Food Service. Although these companies have unique focuses, employers tended to give similar advice to candidates. Based on the answers from their interviews, here are a couple of things to take into account when going to a career fair:

 

  • Do Research

 

Find out what companies are going to go to the career fair and go on their websites to do research on them. Click on the “About Us” section to see what they their values and goals are. Also, search for the open positions they have and what they are looking for in a candidate. Keep exploring their websites until you have a solid idea of who they are and what they do. If it helps you to remember them, write down facts that got your attention.

 

  • Bring Your Best Resume

 

Before going to a career fair make sure you have prepared a strong resume. Most of the employers mentioned how students’ resumes are often too long or not well written. Hence, it is essential that you work on your resume before going to the fair because it is your presentation card. Use the resources you have at school like the Career Development Center, so that someone with experience can assist you.

 

  • Show Confidence

 

Once you go have done your research and prepared your resume, you are ready to go the career fair! The employers mentioned on the interviews that the top quality that makes a candidate stand out is confidence. Employers at the fair are looking for confident people that are able to portray themselves, their abilities, and their knowledge in the best way possible. Since getting nervous is common, practice your one-minute pitch in front of your friends or the mirror a couple of times.

 

  • Be Charming

 

Although confidence is key when you are at a career fair, you also have to be charming, approachable, and personable. Show them that you got the skills it takes to relate and connect to people. One way to do this is by approaching the employers with kindness and respect. Also, check what your body is communicating because they can tell a lot from your body language. Remember you got to portray the best version of yourself to them.

 

  • Demonstrate Interest

 

Another thing to keep in mind is demonstrating your interest in the companies when you are talking to the employers. You have to convey to them that you know who they are and the reasons why you are interested in them. One way of doing this is by mentioning what you learn from your research and by asking good questions about the company and the job. They are more likely to remember you if they notice you have a genuine interest in working for them.

These are 5 general tips that, if done right, will make you stand out from the rest of the candidates at a career fair. Even though career fairs can seem intimidating, you can conquer them if you are prepared for them. Follow these steps and you will be ready to go!

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