So you are getting ready for the career fair. Doesn’t matter if you are a freshman or a senior there is an abundance of opportunity. These are such unique situations I strongly encourage you to go every single year. Not every day you get the chance to speak with so many different recruiters at one time.
Before The Big Day
The List – Acquire a list of the companies that will be there. Ask the career services to send it to you if they haven’t already. Chances are they are using something like Career Fair Plus or something similar. Now that you have a list, comb through to see which industries/positions you are most interested/qualified and start the preparation process for those openings. Preparation makes you stand out from your peers, check out our prior post if you haven’t read it yet.
The People – Try to find the specific people who will be attending. That way you can pull up their LinkedIn profile page and get a better understanding of who they are and what they are looking for. Also, this allows you to prepare specific questions tied to their work history etc. If you can’t find them on LinkedIn it’s alright, it’s not deal breaker, more of a nice to have then need to have.
The Documents – Research company websites as well as the mission statements, values, cultures, and any open positions. Make sure you have your cover letters appropriately addressing each unique opportunity you are pursuing at the career fair. Intertwine your passion for the position with the research you have already done. If you don’t feel confident the online research was enough to solidify your decision to pursue the opportunity then make sure to chat with the representative from the company during the big day to learn more.
Update your resume as well to illustrate your specific accomplishments and skills that tie directly to the opportunity at hand. Organize all these document in a little binder to give out at the career fair.
The Elevator Pitch – Have a concise well-prepared elevator pitch for when you meet the various recruiters. Introduce yourself, an area of study, what you’re looking for post-graduation and why you are seeking that specific opportunity out.
The Day of the Fair
The Mindset – One of the most important things is to have the proper mindset today. You have put in the time and research before today so be confident and relaxed. The recruiters are there to see you.
The Dialogue – Ask them about their first-hand experience with company culture and other items you find most pertinent. Ask questions about the specific position posted you are interested in pursuing. It’s quite plausible the recruiter hasn’t ever worked in the position you want so a good question to ask if they will put you in contact with someone currently in that role to learn more.
The Follow Up -Do not get discouraged if there wasn’t an opening posted that was directly applicable to you. Many times, companies know they want to hire but it takes additional internal approvals before they can post the position in publicly. You have the upper hand over other candidates by planting the seed you are interested in future openings.
Many times they will even offer next day interviews for different internships. But even if you don’t end up with an interview right after the career fair don’t lose the momentum. Send a thank you card or email about how you enjoyed learning about the company and would still like to learn more.