A Career Fair is probably unlike any fair you’ve even been to- sure, there are lots of people and maybe even some long lines. But, if you prepare yourself well, you might have just as much fun! Here are some tips for preparing and what you should bring to the Career Fair.
The Night Before
There are serval important things you need to prepare the day before the Career Fair. First and foremost, is prepare yourself! Make sure you know what you will wear to make a great first impression. This means full suit, pant suit, skirt suit, etc. You get the idea. Don’t show up in flannel and khakis. Make sure you look neat and clean from head to toe. A good rule of thumb is- if you have to ask yourself “should I wear this?” you probably shouldn’t!
The Center for Career Development has a handy Resume and Professional Writing Guidebook online (career.uconn.edu) that includes a few tips- such as how to write strong bullet points and how to tailor your resume. If you are scrambling for time or think your resume is already pretty strong, pay attention to the small details! I can’t stress that part enough. One small typo could kill your chances for an interview! Lastly, buy a classy pad folio to keep your resume copies in. You will be handing them out to employers, and you don’t want to be that one person that stands out for having a hot pink folder.
So, once you know you will look presentable, and have your resume copies ready to go, it’s time to do some research. Take notes on the prospective companies. Use our UConn Career Fair App, where you can “favorite” your target companies, which will even add them to an interactive map. This will help you navigate the career fair quickly and efficiently. Figure out what the company does, their mission statement, and take notes on them! Before approaching an employer, quickly refresh yourself with your notes. Walking up to a company with no knowledge about what they do is not a good look. You want to have prepared sufficiently to be able to ask some intelligent (relevant!) questions about the employer.
Know your Elevator Pitch
Lastly, a crucial piece to having success at a Career Fair is to know your elevator pitch. If I asked you right now- what are your professional goals? Would you be able to answer that question? Equally as important, would you be able to answer succinctly, in just a few minutes? Talking about yourself is hard… and especially hard when you’re put on the spot. Don’t let that happen to you! Prospective employers are looking for students who can articulate their interests, relevant skills and experiences, and be able to explain their background (e.g., why you are interested in the industry, company, or organization) in an intelligent manner. Knowing what you will say to employers about yourself will help alleviate some natural anxiety you may be feeling about networking.
Lastly, be yourself! The Career Fair is a great opportunity to network, get business cards, and get your name out to prospective employers. The more comfortable, confident, and relaxed you feel, the better you will present yourself to those employers.
Best of luck at the Career Fair!