Whether you’re seeking your first job or trying to network with potential employees in your field, you should attend career fairs. Sending out your resume and applications online might help you feel productive, but connecting with recruiters and talent in person is even better and will get you further in your career. So get yourself prepared now!
I know, thinking about career fairs is kind of scary for lots of students. But being ready for them in the right way might give you a higher chance of finding a more appealing job on your career path. Read on! Here are the 5 things to keep in mind in order to make the best use of your time at career fairs.
1. Research first
Whether you’re attending a career fair at your school or hosted by another organization, visit the sponsor’s website and see which companies have signed up. Research all of those that you’re interested in so that you know what you’re talking about when you meet their representatives. Also, having a background of those companies can boost your confidence. After you’ve figured out your list, you can start deciding which company’s booth you’d like to visit first. Again, there will be lots of companies at career fairs, and time there is so short. You don’t want to waste your time wandering around without a plan and end up not speaking with anyone. Arrive as early as possible and talk to as many recruiters as possible.
2. Polish your resume
Everyone knows resumes matter, but what kinds of resume stands out in the thousands of them being presented at a career fair? We found this infographic provided by Glassdoor that may help you polish your resume. In general, the golden rule of an outstanding resume is to catch the recruiters’ eyes in 5 seconds. Recruiters will not spend longer on a resume if they don’t see anything attractive to them. So I recommend trying to quantify your experiences and highlighting the skills that represent that you’re a good fit for the majority of the companies at the job fair.
3. Practice your introduction and create your elevator pitch
”Tell me a little about yourself.” This might be the most-asked (and least prepared for) question at career fairs. Prepare your answers beforehand so you won’t panic and can present yourself professionally when asked. When practicing, try to say your pitch out loud in front of the mirror or your friends as many times as possible. That way, you might feel more confident when you are in front of the recruiters. Further, you can expect being asked something like “Why do you want this job?” or “Why do you think you’re a good fit for this company?” These questions are the most dreaded questions in the world of recruiting, so get yourself ready for them.
4. Remember to ask for a business card and upscale your network
The true goal of career fairs is more than getting a job – it’s a good place for networking. After you speak to a recruiter, ask for his or her business card. By doing this, you will have an easier time getting in touch with more people in that company. You should also make connections with other attendees at career fair. You can share your experience or ask about their tips. It’s really important to make good connections!
5. Send thank-you letters
Sending a thank you letter as soon as possible to the people you meet at a career fair can make you stand out more than other attendees. In the letter, you should express your interest and enthusiasm again and mention a bit about what you learned during your time with the recruiter. And, of course, attach your amazing resume!
There’s always a lot more to learn. But take these guidelines as the first step, and keep reaching out to others and find resources at your school’s career center. Next time you go to a career fair, you’ll be ahead of the game.
What do you want to learn about career development? Comment below, and we’ll work on getting it to you!