Career and internship fairs can be intimidating, especially if you’ve never been to one before. It’s important to prepare before you go, so here are some tips on navigating the fair.
Research the Company
Prepare for the fair as if you were going to a real job interview by looking at the website of the companies you are interested in before heading to the fair. This will show them that you have a strong interest in their company because you cared enough to learn something about it before meeting the representative.
Prepare your Resume
Before heading to the fair, make an appointment with your university’s Career Services center to get your resume reviewed. Make sure to use this time to ask them any questions you have about the fair, because the people who work there are extremely knowledgeable. Once your resume is perfected, print off at last two resumes for each company you want to visit.
Talking with Recruiters
Prepare an “elevator speech” with basic facts about yourself and why you think you would be a good fit with the company to show them your personal brand. Don’t forget the firm handshake and to make eye contact. Prepare questions for the recruiter to show them the strong interest that you have in their company. It is also considered acceptable to ask the recruiter what would be required of you to receive another interview.
Following Up with the Recruiter
This step is one that students often forget after leaving the career fair. Even if you made a great impression on the recruiter, there is still a chance that they won’t reach out to you unless you’re proactive and take the first step. One strategy is to leave the recruiter a voicemail thanking them for speaking with you at the fair. Another method is to write them a thank-you card like you might after a typical interview. Thank them for speaking with you, inquire about their hiring process going forward, and restate your qualifications then mail it to the address on their business card with another copy of your resume attached.
With career fair season approaching, using these tips will help you to feel more confident at the fair and could help you in your search for a job or summer internship.
Kaitlyn Lannan is a sophomore at Northwestern University. She is majoring in economics and communication and plans on attending business school. Her dream job is becoming Chief Marketing Officer at a Fortune 500 company. You can find Kaitlyn on Twitter at @KaitlynLannan.