Home How to Prepare for A Career Fair
When preparing for a career fair you should make sure that you have some kind of system to it. There are preparations that come before, during, and after the career fair. Take time to plan these out so that you can be well prepared to make the most of the career fair.
Getting your materials together will be the first step that you take and this is an extremely important first step. Make sure that you have a job portfolio together before starting anything. This portfolio should contain all of your contact information to start and then a cover letter stating simply what you have to offer as far as your best credentials.
You then need to make sure you have your resume within this portfolio. You can include a few pages of sample work if it is possible, just to give a clear idea of what you can do. If you plan on applying to a few different fields, then you need to have a different resume for each of those fields. It is not a good idea to use the same resume for everything.
When you have your portfolio together, it is absolutely necessary to proofread everything contained within that portfolio. Make sure that your grammar, spelling, and punctuation is correct. Simple errors with any of these can make a recruiter uninterested in reading the rest of your portfolio. It is always a good idea to let someone else proofread as well because they may find errors that you could not.
Once your portfolio is together and you have corrected any errors, it is time to start working on “you.” You want to do more than just show up with your resume in hand. It never hurts to dress to impress. Pick out the clothes that you plan on wearing and be sure that the outfit shows your professional side.
After you have chosen your clothes, it is time to get a plan together of what companies you want to meet, what you plan on saying, and how you plan on making sure you get as many contacts as possible for your network. If you need to, you can take this plan with you when it is time to go to the career fair. It will help you stay on track.
Take your time when you get into the career fair. If it is possible, look for a map of the entire event so you can easily spot the companies you want to visit. Because there are so many companies that may be present, it is important to get to the main companies first, and worry about meeting the others if you have time. Use your plan as a guide as to what is going to be the most important and what can wait.
You can, however, start with a company that is low on your list in order to get a feel for what it will be like throughout the entire career fair. Start with the company that is lowest on your list and use this as a chance to practice meeting, greeting and connecting. Leave your resume and be sure to repeat your name and shake hands. This leaves an impression with recruiters immediately.
For each employer, you should remember to do a few things. To get the conversation going smoothly, be sure that you approach an employer with a smile and a handshake that says you are not afraid. Say every word clearly and be sure to use words that are easy for anyone to understand. You may want to take note of each employer and a few facts about them before striking up a conversation. End the conversation by thanking them for their time. This is yet another thing that recruiters really appreciate.
You can learn from each encounter that you have with different employers. Just be sure that you take note of what seems to work and what does not so that you can apply it to your next conversation. Also, get a business card or some form of contact from each recruiter. You will need this later for the follow-up.
After you have completed your career fair, you will need to do a few things that will follow up with what you did during the career fair. For each recruiter that you were able to meet with, you should send an email thanking them again for their time. If you spoke about sending further information to them or asking for more information, include this in the email as well.
The career fair also gives you a chance to get to know each company a little better than what you knew about them before. Based on this information, you should go through your list of companies and see which will be moved to the top of your list and which might be moved down a little further.
Create a spreadsheet with your top choices at the top and your least favorite at the bottom. As you make contact and communicate with recruiters or employers of each of these companies, record your results in the spreadsheet. This will help you to know which companies you have contacted, received emails or applications from, and which companies have asked for an interview.
The key to making your career fair visit a success is to be well prepared before, during and after. However, communication plays a particularly important role overall. Always keep in contact with the network that you have created from recruiters at the career fair. Remember that these recruiters have seen countless faces, so in order to remember yours, you need to stay in touch. You can do this by contacting them through email or setting up times that you can meet with them to learn more about career opportunities within their company.
All of these ideas come together to give you the most out of your career fair experience and will keep you prepared for any opportunities that come your way.