It’s that time of year again. The leaves are changing, students are back on campus, and upperclassmen are busy forming their post-graduation plans. For Crew212, that means it’s recruiting season! If you want to make the most of this year’s career fair at your school, here are some tips on putting your best foot forward.
Bring Extra Copies of Your Resume
You should plan to leave your resume with every company you interact with – this means you need to bring plenty of copies!
Dress for Success
Look the part when you go to the career fair! Most career fairs will have a business professional dress code, or business casual at the very least. A few days before the career fair, take some time to make sure you have an outfit ready. This means your outfit is ironed, clean, and ready to wear into a professional setting.
Do Your Research
Look up the companies who will be at your career fair. Not only will you be able to form a game plan about which companies you really want to meet, but you’ll also be able to do some preliminary research about the organizations. Knowing about the company ahead of time is a surefire way to get a recruiter’s attention! Having said that, keep an open mind if you see a company at the career fair that may be of interest, even if you didn’t get a chance to research them ahead of time.
Master Your Elevator Pitch
Your elevator pitch is the quick synopsis of who you are and what you do, a Cliff Notes intro that you can say within the span of a short elevator ride. Your elevator pitch should be no longer than 30-40 seconds! If you practice your elevator pitch and have it ready to go, you’ll be more confident and time efficient when you introduce yourself to recruiters.
Ask Thoughtful Questions
This one ties back into doing your research. The worst thing you can do at a career fair is ask obvious questions about a company – information that is readily available on their website or with a quick google search. Ask more open-ended questions that open the possibility of a conversation with the recruiter. If you ask something as simple as “what does your company do?”, you’re not making a great first impression.
Maintain Engaging Eye Contact and Body Language
This is an area of improvement for many people, but fortunately body language and eye contact are both things that can be improved with practice. Make sure you’re showing the recruiter that you’re engaged in the conversation and genuinely want to talk to them. Nothing is worse than coming across as disinterested or distracted!
Gather Business Cards
Get business cards from the recruiters you talk to. You can use their contact information to follow up after the career fair, whether it be with more questions or simply to thank them for their time. Expressing your gratitude and showing further interest in an organization can go a long way towards landing an interview!
Follow Up with Recruiters
Tied in with the last point, it’s important that you follow up with the companies you’re interested in. Keep in mind that while you were meeting with a few different companies, each of those companies were meeting literally hundreds of candidates. Following up can be crucial in standing out from your peers.
Career fairs often have the unfortunate perception of being stuffy, formal and competitive, with the end goal being landing an interview with the best companies over your peers. If you go in with that mindset, you miss the opportunity to meet the people around you and really enjoy the process of figuring out where you want to be after graduation. On the other hand, if you go in with an open mind and set out to enjoy yourself and meet some great people, you’ll be happier and will come across as an even more likable candidate.