You already know that career fairs are a great opportunity to meet face to face with recruiters from a variety of companies. The trick is getting out there and actively making the most of the opportunity. We understand that big events like these can be nerve-wracking, so we’ve put together a list of 5 tips to help you bring your best self.
1. Do Your Research
Before attending a career fair do some research on the companies that will be there. Make note of the type of work they do and their company culture, and then make a list of the companies that interest you the most. Once you have determined what companies you want to visit, you should make a plan:
- What companies do you want to visit first?
- What companies do you want to visit if you have extra time?
Consult the floor plan so you know where each company’s booth is to plan your route. But remember, be open minded: if a company isn’t on your list but catches your eye at the career fair, take a chance on them.
2. Prepare Your Resume
Prepare yourself prior to attending the career fair by creating a resume that highlights your skills, education, prior work experience, and contact information. Once you have completed your resume, proofread it to ensure there are no spelling or grammar mistakes. (Hint: it’s always a good idea to have a friend or family member proofread your resume and provide feedback, since they will see things that you might gloss over.)
Once you are happy with your resume, print out a few to bring to the career fair – and we recommend you print a few extras just in case! Bring your resumes in a protective folder and be ready to hand them out to potential recruiters.
(Hint: Every company is a bit different. Some prefer that you email them your resume while others love to have the paper in hand. In most cases, a business card is not a good replacement for a resume, since they can be easily lost and usually don’t convey important information the recruiter may need.)
3. Bring Your Confidence
The most important thing you can bring is your confidence! We have some tips to help you look confident even if you aren’t feeling very confident.
- Dress the part
- Wear professional clothes you feel good in. This will boost your confidence tremendously.
- Approach a company’s booth alone
- Bringing along a big group of friends may help you feel more confident in numbers, but your friends are not going to be with you on the job. A large group can become awkward.
- Practise your introduction in advance
- Be ready with a 20 second introduction of your name and the reason you are there to say hello. (Hint: Avoid repeating a company’s website back to them. Sure, we want to know that you know what our company does. But no, we don’t need you to quote it back to us to demonstrate you have looked at it.)
- Engage with confidence
- Include a solid handshake and try your best to maintain eye contact while you are speaking with recruiters.
Show up as your best self and you will be sure to make a good impression!
(Hint: If you’re stuck, here is an example of a 20 second introduction you can make your own: Hello, my name is [insert your name] and I’m a 3rd year student in [program] here at [school]. I saw that you would be here today, and I wanted to make a point of introducing myself. I am fast learner who is looking for a strong company with a great learning environment that might be interested in a co-op student next term. Is this something that you are looking for?)
4. First Impressions Matter
Everyone knows that first impressions matter, so help give a great first impression by preparing yourself with some questions and answers. It’s always good to practise some interview questions prior to speaking with a potential hiring company.
Be ready with answers for these kinds of questions:
- What are your strongest skills?
- What is your relevant work experience?
- What kind of position are you looking for?
- What are your future goals?
Your preparation will add confidence, which will help with that good first meeting.
Also, don’t forget to arrive prepared with some questions to ask companies to help you get to know them. This is an opportunity to find the right job for you, and the company should be giving you a good first impression too!
(Hint: Avoid trying to be too funny or too flattering, both of which most often fall flat. Simply speak with confidence about your interest and why you are there.)
5. Follow Up
Once you have finished speaking with a recruiter and have given them your resume, ask for their business card so you can follow up later. These companies will be talking to many potential candidates at career fairs, and it may take them a while to follow up with everyone, so if you haven’t heard from a recruiter in a week or two, don’t take this as a rejection. A kind email thanking them for their time and expressing interest in the company will help you stand out in the crowd. It shows them that you are excited to take this further!
Take your shot! No, not tequila. But bravely take a chance on what you might feel like is a long shot. You never know, you might end up working for a fabulous company like IFAB!
Career fairs are a great opportunity to broadcast your skills to a variety of potential employers. Be prepared with a list of companies you want to meet and your resume. Dress the part, approach booths confidently, and be prepared with some questions and answers. Keep an open mind and be ready to follow up with those companies you are really excited to hear from.
Interested in joining our dynamic food focused engineering and design team? Find current open positions and apply here. Or bring your best self to meet us in person!