Career fairs can be one of the most convenient ways to find your dream job or internship. However, they can also be an overwhelming experience, with hundreds of students competing for the attention of just a few recruiters. That’s why putting a proper plan in place to get the most out of your career fair experience is important. This list of career fair tips for college students will ensure that you show up well-prepared.
Probably the most important of the college career fair tips is to conduct thorough research beforehand. You’ll need to get some background to make a positive impression on university reps and recruiters, such as the organization’s culture, what primary product/services do they offer, or what makes them unique. Not only does this help recruiters perceive you as interested, it also allows you to tailor your resume accordingly.
Just like an interview for your dream job, how you dress at a career fair is hugely important. A good rule of thumb is to make sure your attire is appropriate, conservative, and simple. Essentially, aim to dress in a way that wouldn’t look out of place in the typical office environment.
A common practice for companies at career fairs is to ask if you have any questions about them. Now, if you’ve properly done your research, you should have at least a few relevant questions in mind. This will show you’re genuinely interested in learning more about them and their work. These need to be thoughtful questions that can’t be answered with a brief look at the company website.
Creating a solid elevator pitch is one of the best ways to make a good impression within 60 seconds. You should introduce yourself, your major, career aspirations, and why you want to work for this specific company. This is one of the career fair tips for college students that can help you stand out as someone who is thoughtful and articulate.
One of the best college career fair tips is to ask for a business card from each of the recruiters you speak with. This will prove especially useful in the future as you now have a direct contact with the organization. With this, you can now follow up on your discussion at the career fair and send a thank you note or a follow-up email reiterating your interest and appreciation of time spent meeting them at the career fair.
There are times when the company representative at the career fair may not be able to answer all of your questions. Often times, they’ll opt to give you the contact details of others in the organization that will be able to assist you. Making a note of these names and any key points in your discussion could prove especially valuable down the line. Consider taking a notepad or entering notes on your smartphone between booth visits.
Just as with a job interview, sending a thank you note is one of the best ways to follow up after a career fair. It is a polite and courteous way to thank the company representative for their time and to reiterate your interest in working there. The fact that the vast majority of students still don’t do this will help you stand out from the rest.