Every once in awhile I write a post about career fairs. If I had any doubt that they could be effective, those doubts were blown away when my most recent intern, Emily, updated me on how she was doing with her job search.
Emily will land on her feet anyway, she is a talented young lady who I was blessed to have as my very first personal (as in Design Resumes) intern. She graduated from Rasmussen College on Friday, April 6 with her Associate Degree in Human Resources Management. She will get her Bachelor’s Degree in the future but right now just wants to get out there and use her Associate’s degree.
As my intern, I provided her with a full line of Design Resumes services. She has a new professional resume, she has been surrounded by career marketing advice for months, and she is a very smart young woman.
Emily went to the Rasmussen College career fair in February and apparently was more than successful. She’s connected to me on Facebook and I kept seeing her status say, “I have two interviews” or “The interview went very well.” When I called to ask her where the leads were coming from, she told me that most of the leads were coming from the career fair. She found plenty of opportunities with major employers.
You need to be prepared for a career fair though to be successful and Emily has good sense to start with and then I coached her even more just to be sure. You might benefit from the following check list.
The Career Fair Quiz:
- Are you dressed the part? Look at the career fair photo above. Most everyone is in suits. If you don’t have a suit and you are a male, pick a nice shirt, add a tie, and get a pair of dress pants and some black or dark brown shoes. If you don’t have these things, perhaps you should invest. Since job search is challenging, having the basic job search outfit is a good idea even if you don’t use them later. If you are female, black pants and a nice shirt or blouse, perhaps with a blazer, makes a good first impression.
- Do you have your resume updated? Don’t think that it will work to bring your old resume that doesn’t have your most recent position on it to a career fair. Your resume should be professionally written and chock full of accomplishments and key words. Be prepared with print copies but realize that you may be just collecting information and posting your resume online later.
- Have an “elevator speech” ready. 30 seconds of what you offer, what you are looking for, and who you are. Tough as this can be, figuring this out in advance will make you look better at the career fair than the person who is stammering for an answer.
- Though your resume should be prepared, collect business cards at the career fair so you can send a cover letter or thank you note to the person who is running the career fair booth for the company. You never know how that kind of networking could help you.
- Did I mention that you should not be chewing gum, drinking soda, or eating anything as you go booth to booth at the career fair? No one wants to be unprepared to chat because their mouth is full. Networking, Networking…
- Prepare questions to ask companies. Find a list of who will be at the career fair in advance and target the ones you are really interested in. You can do online research.
Emily got it right. If you follow the tips above, you will too!
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