Career fairs are a great opportunity to explore different industries and learn about the companies that could help kickstart your career. I suggest having a plan to make the most of this opportunity.
First, you should identify which companies are hiring in your areas of interest. Once you have a few target companies, you’ll need to do your research. Knowing even just the basics about each company will set you apart and impress the representatives.
Organization is key. After you’ve made your list, determine the order you’re going to visit them. If there’s a line to speak with the company representative, use the wait time to review your introduction.
Don’t forget to dress the part. You don’t want to show up in sweatpants and flip-flops (no matter how comfortable they are). Wearing a structured blazer or button-down with a nice pair of jeans and clean tennis shoes can help you stand out while still showing off your personality.
When you reach the company booth, be prepared to sell yourself. Share a few things about your background and what you’re looking for. This is your chance to make an impression, so highlight any relatable experience you’ve gained from prior internships, co-ops, team projects or courses. If you show up to the booth with a friend, be sure you take the time to separate yourself.
You should also have questions prepared to ask the company representative. This will show that you’re genuinely interested and invested in learning more about them and the industry. Don’t NOT ask questions.
Many companies won’t accept resumes, but having a tailored resume on hand is still essential just in case. Make sure your resume is customized to your career objectives and that you have a few hard copies with you. If the company doesn’t accept resumes, don’t hesitate to ask if you can connect with the representative on LinkedIn instead.
Lastly, it’s OK to walk away from the career fair with a small bag of items to remember your target companies, but don’t be tempted to grab all the goods, tchotchkes and giveaways. After all, you’re there to collect valuable information and potential job opportunities — not stuff.
There you have it! Follow these tips to make your next career fair visit a success!