Whether you’re a student looking for full-time employment after graduation, a professional looking for a change in career, or even if you’re considering going back to school and want to know more about job opportunities in your city — career fairs present the perfect opportunity to network with people who are recruiting. Many of these recruiters can also provide valuable insight into the current job market or select in-demand skills. For these reasons, you will not want to go to a career fair unprepared!
Use the following guidelines to learn how you can prepare for your next career fair:
1. Do Your Research
Find out ahead of time which companies will be attending the career fair. Visit their websites to learn more about what they do, their products, services, mission statements, values and any open positions they are currently recruiting for. This will help you prioritize the employers you want to target. Your research will also help you ask better questions and provide you with context when speaking to company representatives.
2. Prepare Your Resume
Take the time to review and update your resume as well as print enough copies to distribute to a number of businesses. For the employers you’re particularly interested in, you should also consider tailoring your resume to fit the organization’s needs or the job they’re hiring for.
At Robertson, our Career Services department supports students in resume writing to ensure their qualifications are highlighted in a way that’s clear and impressive to prospective employers. Take a look to see how else our team can help you land that perfect job.
3. Prepare your Answers
After preparing your resume, take the time to think about the skills and experience you have to offer. Practice a quick pitch that summarizes your strengths, and if possible, recite your pitch to a trusted friend or family member before heading to the career fair. Don’t hesitate to reach out to Career Services if you’re looking for support in interview techniques. Our team is more than happy to help!
4. Present Professionally
Attend the career fair dressed for success. Choose an outfit that’s professional and makes you feel confident. Professional attire doesn’t necessarily mean a suit – consider wearing dress pants and either a nice blouse or a tucked-in dress shirt. Also, avoid overbearing colognes or perfumes — they’ll distract from your tangible skills. Last but not least, don’t forget to smile. You never know, your next boss could be watching.
5. Be Open Minded
Preparing for your next career fair also consists of being open minded about the organizations you’re interested in working for. When you’re at the career fair, stop by booths and speak with prospective employers you may not have originally considered. This could open up unexpected opportunities with businesses doing work you find interesting. At the end of the day, there is no harm in exploring all your options!
6. Prioritize Select Employers
While you should keep an open mind to all employers attending the career fair, try beginning the day by establishing connections with the prospective employers you’ve researched and are most excited about. This will allow you to take a step back afterwards and decide what additional businesses you may consider connecting with. One tip is to start off by talking to company representatives from organizations at the middle of your hunt list. This will allow you to practice your pitch and gain confidence in your approach before conversing with the employers you’re most excited to meet.
7. Gather Information
Once you’re at the career fair, don’t forget to ask for business cards or the name and title of the person you were speaking with. When interviewing for positions at Robertson, our hiring staff always listens to ensure candidates have a strong grasp of the tasks involved in the role they’re applying for. Consider this when attending a career fair and pick up any company brochures or pamphlets so you can review the material after the event.
8. Follow Up
Follow up within a week of a career fair. Send an email to the employers you met at the event. Recruiters attend many career fairs so be sure to include the date and time you met and the location of the event you were at. You may also want to consider attaching another copy of your resume so employers don’t have to search for the one you provided at the career fair. Simple gestures like these will demonstrate you’re an eager and detail-oriented candidate. Plus, it will make it easy for them to give you a call without having to look for you information.
Understanding how to prepare for a career fair is an important step in setting yourself apart from other candidates chasing after many of the same employment opportunities. Whether it’s a job opening at Robertson, or an opportunity with another sought-after employer, following the above steps will help you along your journey to find your dream career.