How to Prepare for a Career Fair
Career Fairs are an excellent way to meet a large number of potential employers at one time. Career Fair attendance is useful because it gives you an opportunity to network, pass out copies of your resume, and improve your communication and interview skills.
Career Fair Tips
- Research companies – Do your homework. Visit the Career Development Career Fair website for a list of participants to find out in advance who will be attending the Fair. Visit the organization’s web sites or read current business articles to learn more about their products, missions, annual budgets, and organizational structure. This will enable you to ask better questions of the company representatives.
- Prepare your resume/portfolio – Bring lots of copies of your resume. Have your resume reviewed prior to the Career Fair. Bringing a few selected work samples can make a positive first impression on a prospective employer.
- Present a professional appearance – Dress up. Conservative, tailored, business-like clothing is best. Pay close attention to personal hygiene and grooming. Minimal make-up and jewelry. Avoid perfume and/or cologne. Recruiters are watching and listening to determine if you act professionally. Smile.
- Check your attitude – Be optimistic, but have realistic expectations. You will meet employers who are interested in hiring in your field. There may not be immediate vacancies, but when openings occur, the employer will think of you because of your first impression.
- Practice Your Introduction – Is your handshake a “floppy fish” or a bone-crunching experience? Practice your handshake. Rehearse a brief introduction. Be able to tell the employer about your immediate career goals.
- Have strategies – Make an “A” list (favorites/must meet) and a “B” list (nice to meet – if time permits). Go to a few “B” list employers first to practice your introduction and questions. Then you’ll be warmed up and feel more confident when you will meet your “A” list recruiters.
- Avoid long lines – Don’t stand in long lines. Check out the companies without a lot of people lined up. Try to meet the recruiters during down times (especially in the morning or lunch time). You’ll get more of their attention and be able to learn more about the company and hiring opportunities.
- Gather information – Request a business card from each employer or ask for their name and title. Pick-up all company literature so you can review it after the fair.
- Follow-up after the interview – Follow-up within a week with a letter to each employer that you met. Include the date and time you met, a review of one or two of your primary qualifications with a reference to your knowledge of the company and a request a formal interview.
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