Tuesday, April 16, 2013

How to Survive a Career Fair

By Kelsey McWilliams, junior journalism major at CU-Boulder
Career Fairs are a great way to network and pursue job opportunities, but they can also be a bit intimidating if you aren’t prepared. Our Just In Time Hiring and Internship Fair is coming up TOMORROW, April 17, so we found a great infographic to help you feel prepared and confident going into the career fair.

1.     Dress for success: When it comes to meeting with employers, it’s always better to be overdressed than underdressed. Expect everyone at the career fair to be dressed the part, so make sure that you’re up to par and looking professional. Stick to neutral colors and conservative attire – suit and tie for men, dress pants or skirt (make sure it’s an appropriate length) for women.
2.     Do your homework: Look through the list of companies attending the career fair and pick out the ones that you are especially interested in. Research these companies so that you will be well informed on their business when speaking to recruiters at the fair.
3.     Have your resume: Stop by career services for a resume critique before the fair. Make sure to print off more than enough copies for the employers you’d like to talk to and bring them with you to the fair.
4.     Prepare your elevator speech: Come up with a 30-second summary about yourself that gives recruiters an idea of why you would be a great addition to their company. The speech should be a very concise highlight of your education, experience and the skills that you could bring to the organization.
5.     Make networking contact: Get business cards from every employer that you speak to at the fair. Make sure to send a follow up email within 24 hours, thanking them for taking the time to speak with you and letting them know of your interest in the position you spoke about.
6.     Make the most of your time: Make a schedule for which employers you’d like to talk to, so that you can maximize the amount of time you’re at the career fair. Try to visit the fair when you have a few hours free rather than rushing over between classes.
7.     No smoking: Don’t smoke or chew tobacco before the career fair – that’s not the kind of impression you want to give to employers. If you’re a frequent smoker bring a toothbrush and gum with you, just in case.
8.     Fight hunger: You want to make a good impression with each employer, so make sure that you’re well fed and ready to do so. Have a healthy, substantial meal before going to the fair, so that you’ll be feeling great and ready to impress recruiters.

Stop by Career Services in the Center for Community, N352 for more advice that will help you impress employers at the career fair and beyond.