By: Alina Nesterenko
The fall career fairs are around the corner! The CPA fair will take on place September 27th on the fourteenth floor. Career Day will take place October 4th at the VC gymnasium. What’s the best way to stay calm in what can appear to be an overwhelming environment? Be prepared and be confident! Knowing what to do before, during, and after these events will help you succeed.
Employers at the CPA Fair are seeking out accounting majors, while the Fall Career Day is geared towards all professions and majors. Visit StarrSearch and look under the Events tab to find out which employers will be coming to these fairs. With the information at your disposal ahead of time, you can plan which employers with whom you would like to speak. Not only that, but you can demonstrate your enthusiasm, passion, or curiosity about the company to the recruiter if you have done proper research. Some companies have released information about the positions they are looking to fill. Applying online before the fair is a good idea. You can ask thoughtful questions about the position to show your interest. Remember to bring with you a list of the employers and their summaries because you will not be given a packet when you arrive.
Aside from being knowledgeable, you must look presentable. Your appearance is one of the most important steps in preparing for the fairs because it will be the first impression you will give a recruiter. You should not aim to stand out for your unique choice of attire. The dress code is business professional. In short, wear a dark suit. For some, the term “professional” may include removing eye-catching piercings, cutting long nails, and straying away from flashy jewelry. You should bring at least 20 copies of your most up-to-date resume in a nice business portfolio or a neat folder. Plan according what you will bring with you, so you do not leave your stuff unattended.
Now that your company research and appearance are taken care of, think about your behavior. The first thing you will have to do when it is your turn to speak to the recruiter is shake his or her hand. This means you must practice giving a firm handshake. After, you will likely give your personal pitch. A personal pitch is a short (1-2 minute) summary of yourself, which may include your current major, year, school involvement, and your reasons why you are interested in the company. A good pitch is more thoughtful than just a list of facts the recruiters can read on your resume. It is should be a good segue to mention what you are looking for in a company or a job function. More times than not, this personal pitch will spark a brief conversation between you and the recruiter. The recruiter will give you a better feel for the company’s culture and will answer questions you may have.
Be mindful of the recruiter’s time. If the line behind you is long or you are running out of things to say, you can always reiterate your interest in the company, thank the recruiter, and see whether the recruiter is collecting resumes. For more tips, visit SCDC’s website to view media videos such as How To Tie a Tie, Career Fair Tips, and Don’t Fabricate Your Resume.
It is crucial that you thank the recruiter not only at the conclusion of the dialogue, but also in an email after the event is over. Therefore, do not forget to politely ask for a business card or e-mail and follow up. It will be easier to write the e-mail if you have taken notes throughout the fair on the people with whom you’ve spoke and the things you have discussed. A personalized email, where you refer to something mentioned in a conversation, is always better than a generic thank you.
Whether this is your first or fifth go at the career fair, walk in with an open mind. Visit employers that have shorter lines than some of the bigger names. Not only can you make a new connection and be exposed to a new role, but you can also practice saying personal pitch and thinking on your feet. This can be your warm-up before you speak to your top choices.
The career fairs give students access to new opportunities within many successful firms. It is a chance for them to show recruiters why they are ideal candidates for positions looking to be filled and have meaningful conversations that discuss their future career paths, display interest in the company, and demonstrate their strengths. Be prepared as best as you can be and have fun with it! Be genuine. If you have any questions, the Starr Career Development is here to help. Be sure to check out our workshops such as Job Fair Prep, Resume Rush, and Building Your Brand: The Personal Pitch.