Navigating a career fair can be intimidating, especially for first-time attendees. However, with proper preparation, I can guarantee you’ll emerge with at least one valuable experience. The following six steps will significantly contribute to a successful outcome!
1. Prepare a High-Quality Resume
While this tip is a given, it is important to refine your resume to make it quick and easy for recruiters to read and highlight your strengths. Recruiters can see up to hundreds of resumes daily, so keep it at one page and check out the Harvard Resume Resource Guide to help you create a polished resume!
2. Prepare an Elevator Pitch
Your elevator pitch is arguably the most crucial component to master to impress a recruiter. The key is to get recruiters interested in learning more about you in a minute or less. Make sure to highlight your strengths, why you are interested in their company and how you can impact and learn from them. Most importantly, be personable! Recruiters are not only looking to find someone with impressive skills but also someone with a genuine personality, a team player and a leader. Show them how well you can fit in with their work environment with your fun personality!
3. Research the Companies Attending
Make it a point to personalize your interactions with each company you meet. Researching the companies beforehand helps you tailor your responses to recruiters’ questions based on the goals and values of their company. Moreover, mentioning what you found value in from their company - whether it be their mission statement, volunteer work, work culture or more - demonstrates to recruiters your dedication to finding a job and your interest in their company specifically.
4. Dress the Part
First impressions can make or break an interaction, so make sure you are dressed appropriately for the event. Go full out with a business professional dress. Think of what you would wear to DECA ICDC and try to model that in how you dress for your career fair! Not only will recruiters be impressed, but your confidence in your outfit will also translate into your performance.
5. Talk to as Many Recruiters as Possible
Do not get discouraged if you don’t present yourself as well as you’d like when talking to the first recruiters you meet. Continue to speak to as many companies as you can! Career Fair success only comes with practice, so give your pitch to as many recruiters as possible. Over time, you will notice yourself refining your elevator pitch and becoming more confident in your performance.
If a recruiter gives you their contact information or encourages you to apply for a position, make sure you follow up with them within the first 24 hours. Leave a lasting impression on them by asserting your continued interest through proactive communication and follow-ups.
Regardless of how many job offers you get at the end of the day, give yourself a round of applause for reaching out for opportunities and gaining experience and communication skills that will help you excel in many of your future endeavors.