Now let's talk about the things you NEED to be doing to set yourself up for success this career fair season.
Things to Do Before the Career Fair
- Do your research! Figure out what companies you definitely want to talk to and have company profiles made for them. Need help making a company list? Go here: http://spartanjobseeker.blogspot.com/2009/09/making-your-list-and-checking-it-twice.html. Any questions on how to make company profiles? Go here: http://spartanjobseeker.blogspot.com/2009/07/career-search-tactics-creating-company.html
- Apply to companies online that you plan on visiting at the career fair. Have beef with applying online? Go here and find out ways to stand out: http://spartanjobseeker.blogspot.com/2009/09/being-more-than-just-another-pdf-file.html. Add a cover letter to your online application, too! Any questions? http://spartanjobseeker.blogspot.com/2009/09/cover-letters-use-it-or-lose-it.html. Don't have a resume?! Go here: http://spartanjobseeker.blogspot.com/2009/09/week-1-everything-you-ever-wanted-to.html And here: http://spartanjobseeker.blogspot.com/2009/04/resume-breakdown-break-it-down-now.html
- Set out everything you need the night before the Career Gallery. This should include the clothes you plan on wearing, at least 10-20 copies of your resume printed on resume paper (you can find this at any office supplies store or campus bookstore), portfolio to hold your resumes, and a list of the companies you'd like to visit.
Career Fair Etiquette
- Looking sharp at the career fair is a must! If possible, normal attire for a career fair is a suit. This means that your suit and shirt should be pressed and tidy. You should be showered, hair done, and shirts tucked in. If you don't have a suit, business casual is a must. For guys, this is nice slacks, nice shoes, a belt if necessary, a button-up shirt that is ironed and tucked in, and a tie that matches the shirt. If you do not know if you tie matches your shirt, call your mom or ask a friend. For girls, if you don't have a suit to wear, its important to at least where nice slacks or a skirt and a nice top. Make sure to keep it conservative. Showing off your cleavage is a bad idea.
- Make sure to have a "30 Second Introduction" prepared and rehearse it a few times in your head or with a friend. It should sound something along the lines of "Hello, my name is Eva McSpartan. I'm a senior mechanical engineering student looking for a full-time position. I've done some research on your company and think that your company does a great job with _____(insert product type or process or cultural highlight)."
- Never EVER EVER go up to a company and say "Hey, so what exactly is it that your company does?" This question is like the kiss of death. Don't ask it. Be prepared.
How to Set Yourself Apart
- Demonstrate how prepared you are by having your resume ready to pass out and do research about the companies you plan on talking to beforehand.
- Make sure to have a good handshake. Be firm, but not too forceful. If you shake hands like a limp fish you should seriously reconsider your choice in hand shake. A limp handshake says "I just don't care. And I'm a total pushover."
- Apply to companies online before talking to them at the career fair.
- SMILE! :)
- If you're really interested in interviewing with a company, ask the recruiter if they will be interviewing on campus and if you can get onto the schedule. It seems forward, but if you show the interest and have the goods to back it up, they will probably hook you up.
- Make sure to ask for a business card or contact information from the recruiter.
- Send "Thank You" e-mails to the recruiters you talk to during the career fair. This is a great way to mention something that you were really interested in that you discussed or bring up something that you didn't get to cover with them. It's usually advisable to attach an updated version of your resume as well for reference.
That should be about it! If you can accomplish all these things, you should be in a very good position to get an offer for a position.
Good Luck Job Seekers!