It is officially spring and that means classes are over, and graduation is upon us. One of the most pressing things on any student’s mind is securing a job or internship. While there are a variety of avenues for securing a job, attending a college career fair is a golden opportunity. Career fairs vary depending on the size of the college and on the mix of local, regional and national companies present. These fairs present a valuable opportunity to meet with potential employers and speak with them in a one on one setting. In fact, recruiters come to college campuses to attend career fairs and interview students on the spot. While these events may seem overwhelming at first, they do not have to be. Most colleges feature a career fair in the fall and spring; however, it is never too early to think about preparing for one. Now that classes are out, you can perfect your resume so when the next career fair rolls around you are ready. Here are three tips to keep in mind for making your next career fair a success:
Research Potential Employers
Being prepared by researching potential employers cannot be stressed enough. It is your goal to impress these individuals with your skills and knowledge, and this means learning more about them prior to attending the career fair. It is helpful to have basic background information about the leadership of the company, the company’s vision and mission, clients and culture. Take the time to jot down a few questions for every company you are interested in talking to as well. Think about the questions that you would ask in an interview. What would you like to learn more about? The more you know about the company and interact with their representatives, the more this potential employer will be impressed with your knowledge. This may open the door to a follow up interview.
While the dress code varies in different career fields, it is always better to be overdressed than underdressed. Business, finance and engineering tend to be more traditional fields, so consider investing in a suit or a nice blazer and dress pants to wear. Those in the fields of design, art and communications tend to be more expressive with their personalities, so adding some color or a statement piece to your outfit will show your playful personality and creative side. Just remember to keep things professional and never wear something that makes you feel uncomfortable.
Plan the Career Fair in Advance
Depending upon the size of your college or university, the career fair may be huge. Most employers will only attend the fair for a few precious hours, so it is important to make a plan with your career fair goals. How many employers do you want to visit? Where are their booths located? What type of position are you looking for? Sometimes colleges will post information about the career fair online a few days in advance, so take advantage of this opportunity by researching this information and putting a plan in place. This will help to cut down on wasted time at the career fair and will maximize your face-to-face time with recruiters.
If this is your first career fair, consider reaching out to your academic advisor or career services office to get more information about what to expect. Remember to stock up on resumes and business cards and bring your smile with you on the big day!