With the right preparation, a career fair can be a great opportunity to gain information, make connections and increase your chances of landing that dream job after college. Here’s how to make the next one you attend a success.
Prepare in advance
Your school will likely announce the companies attending the career fair ahead of time. This is your indication to start preparing. You probably already have a good idea about the type of role or company you are interested in, so scan the list of attendees and see who stands out.
From there, begin your research. Look up companies of interest on LinkedIn, Glassdoor and their company websites. Search for job qualifications, growth potential, financial stability and benefits. Make a list of pros and cons for each company and jot down a few questions you may want to ask their recruiters. Take it a step further by looking up the LinkedIn profiles of company contacts and refer to your findings at the career fair.
Formulate and rehearse a 20-30 second “elevator pitch” that includes your name, school, major, graduation date and what type of job you are looking for. Print off fresh copies of your resume and have them ready to go in a padfolio or crisp folder.
The morning of
First impressions are everything. Wake up early, mentally prepare yourself, jam out to your favorite song and dress the part. How you dress for a career fair is no different than how you would dress for an interview. Wear a suit that is clean and pressed and a neat, professional hairstyle.
Your time to shine
Recruiters will meet many students that day, so it’s best to arrive as early as possible. Once you get to the career fair, you’ll receive a map of company booths. Circle the ones you’ve researched but save time to visit a few you haven’t yet considered; they may surprise you!
Walk right up to the first booth on your list. Smile and introduce yourself by offering a firm handshake along with your elevator pitch. All of this, combined with an air of confidence, will show your potential employer you mean business.
Lastly, show enthusiasm and excitement about the company and the position you are discussing. Utilize your list of prepared questions and LinkedIn profile research, so you don’t have to resort to a stale question like, “what kind of jobs do you have available?” While you’re at the booth, don’t forget to grab a business card from the recruiter.
After the career fair, it’s time for some strategic follow-up. You’ve made a great first impression and now you want to create a lasting impression. Send a ‘thank you’ email to the company contact you met as soon as you get home. Mentioning the fun fact or shared trait you discussed is a great way to personalize this email. Keep it short and sweet. Ask about the application process, or better yet, let them know you’ve already completed the online application and look forward to hearing back from them!
Career fair season is in full swing, so sign up for that fair on campus and go meet your next potential employer. It may be intimidating at first, but with the right research, preparation and confidence, it’s guaranteed to be a great experience. Don’t forget to stop by the Enterprise booth – we’ll look forward to meeting you!