Eight Things College Students Should Do to Prepare for a Career Fair
Vivo recently participated in Chico State’s 2013 Spring Career Fair; where we had the opportunity to meet graduating college seniors as well as students looking for internships. While there, we met Annie Poma, a Chico State senior looking for a summer internship in Marketing.
We asked Annie to write about her experience in preparing for the college career fair. Here are some of her tips:
As a senior in college, I have attended two Career Fairs. I must admit that the second one was less intimidating than the first because I knew what to expect. The only advice I was given upon the first Career Fair was “dress up, pass out some resumes, and be yourself”. As valuable as that advice was, I realized there was a lot more I could have done to prepare myself for an event that could open doors to my professional future. They are an excellent way to network and gain experience in learning to introduce yourself to possible employers. Since I would have benefited from someone giving me more direct advice on getting ready for a Career Fair, I have listed 8 things college students should do to prepare for a Career Fair.
1. Get Your Resume Together
Since Career Fairs can be extremely busy and crowded, you may only have a couple minutes to speak with an employer about yourself and what your qualifications are. Your resume acts as a representation to the employer about who you are and what makes you the optimum candidate. If you are seeking a job in a couple of different fields, make multiple resumes that display your skills for each specific position.
2. Do Your Research
Find out which companies are attending the Career Fair. Find out a little bit of company history. What do they do? Why are they successful? Be prepared to show them how much you know about their company. Also, set your priorities. There may not be enough time for you to reach every booth, so decide ahead of time to which recruiters you would like to introduce yourself.
3. Decide Which Positions You are Seeking
What interests you? How does your education and personality apply to the position? Be sure that the employers with whom you are eager to meet are looking for someone with your skills, experience and interests.
4. Work on Your Introduction
First impressions can be crucial, especially when you only have limited time with an employer. Let them know where you have been and where you would like to go. Remember that they are potentially meeting hundreds of students that day and you do not want to get lost in the shuffle.
5. What Do You Want to Know?
Be sure to think of the questions that you want to ask ahead of time. Try not to ask any questions that you could find the answer to on an external source (company site, search engine, etc.) Questions specific to the company will show that you did your research. Most likely the employers will ask if you have any questions, and they will be impressed when you have them prepared!
6. Plan Your Schedule
Career Fairs can be four or more hours long. If you can, plan your schedule accordingly so that you arrive as early as possible. By arriving earlier in the event, recruiters are more energetic and enthusiastic to meet you. In my experience, they are less crowded in the beginning, which gives you more time per booth.
7. Be Well Rested
By getting a good night’s sleep, you are more likely to be focused and lively at the Career Fair. You want the employers to see you at your best. If you act tired, the employers could mistake that for a lack of motivation.
8. Look Professional
Dress the part. You should look the way that you would for an interview. A classic suit with polished and comfortable shoes always works. Make sure to try your clothes on before the Career Fair so you can be sure that everything fits properly and to avoid surprise rips and snags. Be clean and well groomed because the better you look, the better you will feel!
The job offers will not come to you. You have to seek them. Do not take the Career Fair lightly because you could receive the offer of a lifetime, and you have to know that you deserve it.
Annie Poma is 22 years old and was raised in Walnut Creek. She is currently a senior at California State University, Chico. She will be graduating with a BA in English with a Spanish Minor in 2013. She enjoys reading, writing, traveling and spending time with her friends and family.