How to Make the Most of Career Fairs
Employers are very interested in finding out about you and your career interests. They also want to share important information about their organization and available opportunities. Take advantage of this great networking opportunity. Here is how you can maximize your experience.
BEFORE THE FAIR
- Impress employers by researching their organization beforehand. Consult the Wasserman Center website about a week before the fair to see a list of participating employers. Links to each of their websites will be provided to help with your preparation.
- Bring multiple copies of your resume with you that you can offer to interested employers. Print on resume paper.
- Prepare a 60-90 second pitch to introduce yourself when meeting professional contacts for the first time. Greet them with a firm handshake, make good eye contact, and smile. You will make a strong first impression and help convey to the employer that you are a serious candidate.
DURING THE FAIR
- Make sure you dress in professional attire to help make that strong first impression and bring along copies of your resume with you.
- Ask the employer about the types of positions for which they are recruiting. Let the employer know what areas interest you and that you are exploring various opportunities.
- Make a positive impression by asking questions (NOTE: Researched questions that show you know the organization and their opportunities make a larger impact). For example:
- I noticed that you are currently hiring summer interns, can you tell me more about these opportunities?
- What majors, qualifications and experiences interest you the most?
- What opportunities or internships are available in your organization?
- Do you provide any specialized training?
- Avoid making a negative impression by asking questions about salary, not knowing anything about the organization with which you are speaking, lacking enthusiasm and dressing unprofessionally.
- If an organization or position interests you, offer the employer a copy of your resume. If they are not collecting resumes at the fair, find out to whom and where you can send one.
- Take any available brochures and employer literature. This information will assist you to better prepare for interviews and identify additional opportunities.
- Ask for a business card from every representative with whom you speak. This is an excellent way to develop your own personal list of contacts. Keep a record of everyone you meet and follow up with him or her to maintain the relationship.
- Do not rule out an employer because of the industry it represents. For example, a publishing company may have opportunities in other areas besides writing and research. Find out what kinds of positions are available.
- Do not underestimate yourself. Employers are open to all kinds of interests, backgrounds, majors, extra-curricular activities, community service, and experience.
AFTER THE FAIR
- Follow up with employers after the career fair! Send a thank you email or hand written letter. Make a follow up phone call and remember to send any materials that have been requested of you (i.e., resume, cover letter, etc.).
Enjoy a summary of these tips and additional insights from Wasserman Peers in Careers by watching their production of "Career Fairs: Making Them Less Awkward and More Effective": http://www.nyu.edu/careerdevelopment/wassertube/