Attending career fairs can be overwhelming. You are in a room full of hundreds of other job seekers, trying to attract the attention of a handful of companies. It can be very easy to get lost in the crowd, between all the names and faces recruiters meet over the course of the fair. Just think for a moment when you are introduced to a new group of people. How quickly do you forget who is who? Now imagine as a recruiter meeting hundreds of individuals over the course of a few hours. It is, thus, imperative that you take steps to distinguish yourself from the crowd. Barton has four often overlooked tips that will help to make a difference!
- Be confident
Confidence is key to standing out at a career fair. Look the recruiter or representative in the eye, give a firm handshake, and most importantly SMILE! Company representatives not only want to see that you are professional, but that you are happy to be speaking with them.
- Talk to everyone
Most career fairs inform the attendees about the companies that will be present beforehand. This presents the opportunity to research the companies in attendance ahead of time. A common mistake career fair attendees make is only being drawn to the big, brand-name companies and while overlooking the lesser known or “niche” ones. According to the Talent Acquisition Director here at Barton Associates, Jon Retchin, attendees should make it a point to talk to as many vendors as possible. “The best opportunities may be waiting for you at the booth you just skipped over,” he says. The more companies you talk to, the more chances you will have to find the company that can kick-start your career.
- Be prepared
Having a little elevator pitch about yourself ready will guarantee you a few minutes of face time, according to Mike Deissig from TheLadders. Also, although this seems simple, sometimes people forget; always make sure to bring plenty of copies of your resume. That way, the representatives can walk away having a solid reminder about speaking with you. It will make it easy for them to pass along your resume to the management team when they return to the office. Be sure to dress to impress! While professional dress can vary between companies and occupations, make sure you look well put together and polished.
Even though you did all of the above to make yourself stand out, following up after the fair serves as a final and important reminder to the recruiters of your interest in their organization. Company representatives talk to many people over the course of the fair, so sending a follow-up note or email will give you that extra oomph once you are no longer standing directly in front of them. Remind the representative who you were, thank them, and attach your resume. Also, try to include something they would have remembered about you, such as your love of skiing! End the message with a call to action and ask to continue the conversation, as recommended by Mike Deissig.
Career fairs are a great way to meet people and get your name out in the marketplace when first embarking on a career or internship. Although it can be stressful vying for the attention of recruiters among hundreds of others, these steps will help you to shine! The UConn Spring Career Fair is being held on Thursday April 2nd, from 11am to 2pm in the Student Union Ball Room. Come by and put these tips to the test!