How to Make the Most Out of a College Career Fair
– By Sanya Seth
If your goal is to land a job or internship, attending a career fair is key to getting off to a good start. Besides increasing your chances at landing a position, attending career fairs also help you understand the different industries you can go into, how to highlight strengths on your resume, and hone crucial interview skills. Here are some tips to make sure you are prepared before, during, and after the career fair!
Before the Fair
Update your resume and portfolio
- Spin your experiences on paper to highlight your strengths and important attributes related to the role or industry you’re interested in. Further, make sure to have copies printed to bring with you!
Make a list of companies that you want to visit
- Companies that have registered to attend the fair are posted on the career fair event in Handshake. Make sure to conduct adequate research on the attending organizations so you can create a list of companies to visit and have meaningful conversations with recruiters and representatives.
Dress the part
- Be sure that your attire is appropriate for the event—think business suits, dress pants, and blazers. Given that the career fair could be a long event, also dress comfortably in order to avoid constant adjusting and be able to see the day through.
During the Fair
- This will allow you to scope out where your high-priority companies are, and will increase your chances of meeting with professionals before the crowd gets busy.
- Whether it is during or after you speak with the recruiter, it is important to take notes regarding application process, deadlines, contact information, and any memorable points made during the conversation in order to stand out in a follow-up email, thank you note, or a cover letter.
Don’t overlook basic etiquette
- Making the best first impression is key to starting a good relationship with a recruiter and their company. Keep your phone away and on silent, stay attentive, make good eye contact, and be friendly and patient when engaging in a group conversation with a professional.
After the Fair
- Follow up with a thank you email to whomever you spoke with at the fair. Your thank you email allows you to highlight your relevant qualifications, restate your enthusiasm in the company and role, and is a great opportunity to remind them of the conversation you had and who you are.
Apply for the position!
- If you enjoyed the conversation with the recruiter or felt as if the company and role is a right fit for you, go ahead and apply now! Make use of the notes you took in order to help tweak your resume or craft your cover letter.
Trying to stand out during a career fair can seem like a daunting task, but if you come prepared, follow a developed approach with recruiters, and follow up, you will already be ahead of the game!