Article by Guest Author
Read this previous article for basic info on career fairs : Career Fairs in USA – What are they? How to find, prepare, dress and few tips.
What to do at the career fair? Process to follow ?
Register at the students’ registration desk, put on your nametag and collect the career fair guide. Go to your target companies’ tables first. You might get overwhelmed by the number of companies participating and might not get enough time to talk to your entire target list. Hence, start with them first.
How to talk to employers/company on your target list at Career Fair
When you see a company that you want to talk to, wait in line if the employers are busy talking to other candidates. You do not want to be rude and ruin their conversation. On your turn, greet the employer with a smile and a firm handshake. Introduce yourself. You should have a short introduction of yourself – your summary – to catch the recruiter’s interest. Remember, there are many students like you and you surely want to stand out. You may want to hand over a copy of your resume to the recruiter. The recruiter will then explain you about the company and jobs available. Show genuine interest and try to strike a conversation. However, never ask, “What does your company do?” This is extremely rude and might offend the recruiter. Talk to them about your interests in the field and your background as it relates to the jobs they have. The recruiter might ask you some questions based on your resume. Be prepared!
Sometimes, employers might not accept a paper copy of your resume. They, instead, suggest you to register online on their company’s job portal. If you are handed out any brochures, take them for use later. However, although tempting, do not greedily pick up freebies (pens, notepads, knickknacks) – it just spoils the great impression that you have created. Ask the employer for his/her business card for contacting later. If the person wishes not to provide you one, do not be disheartened – it may be the company policy not to hand out business cards at recruiting events. Thank the employer and leave after a firm handshake. Visit as many companies as possible.
What NOT to do at career fairs?
- Do NOT show up in jeans and sneakers or even business casuals, for that matter, at the career fair.
- Do NOT greedily grab freebies – they are not worth much, anyways.
- Do NOT ask the employer what the company does! You should be aware about it. You, of course, should ask other details of the company.
- Do NOT spam your resumes at all company tables – it won’t get you a job, but will surely spoil your impression if some other recruiter spots you doing this.
- Do NOT jump lines or interrupt others. Speak only when it is your turn.
What should you do after the career fair? Follow Up !
Write a thank-you emails to all the recruiters you spoke to. Send an email either the same evening as the fair or the next day – you cannot afford to be late. However, write a separate email to each company. Do not send out a common generic email – it never works. Try and incorporate the conversation you had with the employer. It is advisable to attach a copy of your resume to the email. The employer might have lost/thrown the paper copy you had handed. If you were instructed to register at the company’s job portal, do accordingly. Follow all instructions you were provided.
Do career fairs work?
Yes! Many students get interview offers after the career fair! Many others struggle just to get an interview call. Applying randomly to jobs works sometimes, but networking has a higher chance. And this is the easiest way to network. Sometimes, the recruiters at the career fair might be your interviewers. It surely helps to know the person before your interview. Have a positive mind-set and remember to smile and be friendly. The last thing you want to do is to annoy a recruiter because of your grumpy nature!
Do you have any other tips or suggestions? Please share them in the comments section below.
About Guest Author: DD completed MS from a university in the Northeast region of United States and currently works at a financial firm in New York City.
Image Credits : http://www.palomar.edu/counseling/careercenter/images/Local%20Career%20Fairs/opportunity_boulevard.gif