BY: SAMANTHA MURPHY
Most students are unaware of how many doors can be opened simply by attending a college career fair. If you’re ready to take charge of your future and begin paving your own career path, a fair is the perfect place to begin. However, recruiters aren’t looking to hire just any student. They are seeking out those who appear the most professional and the ones who present themselves to be an easy fit to the company. Read these tips below for the inside scoop on how to impress recruiters in order to stand out in the endless pool of job applicants!
1. Know your Targets: Mindlessly meandering through the aisles of the fair in search of specific companies can be extremely time consuming. This combined with time potentially spent waiting in line for brands of higher interest can only lead to less conversations and an overall counterproductive day. Utilize your visit wisely by taking 10 minutes to research which companies you’re interesting in beforehand, while making note of where they will be located. This will also ensure that you feel more comfortable and aware as you enter a room full of scrambling students.
The list of visitors along with their booth number can be found on the app Career Fair Plus in the App Store, or under the Handshake event page.
2. Research, research, research. We hear this word over and over before big career events/ networking opportunities. But what exactly should you be researching? Here are some examples to get you started:
- Know the recruiter(s) who will be attending the fair- what is their position? How can you use that information to ask them a question personalized to them?
- Know the position(s) that they are hiring for- It sounds much better to ask about a specific job opportunity you’ve sought out rather than the general “what openings do you have available?”
- Know the company- what do they do? What are current trends in that industry? What are their goals/ missions? What have they recently achieved? Use this to form a question asking the recruiter of their opinion on one of these aspects to show that you’re familiar with the work of their organization.
- Know yourself- you should be able to pull stories of past experiences that you can relate to the job. Ask the recruiter what skills would be required for the position you’re interested in, then be able to reply by listing personal examples of times you displayed those qualifications.
3. Memorable elevator pitch: Don’t be afraid to make yourself stand out more with the use of a unique elevator pitch. Your pitch doesn’t only need to consist of your major and aspirations, but should give the recruiter an overview of your interests as a whole. While still keeping it brief, be sure to incorporate:
- How you have demonstrated interest in your desired field by mentioning past internships/ relevant extracurriculars.
- What skills you learned during your prior experiences that can be transferred to this job (bonus points if you can connect them to specific goals/ job requirements of the company!)
- Finally, emphasize your interest in this organization, stating why you feel so compelled to work with them.
4. The devil is in the details: It is essential to take precautions that enable you to present the most professional version of yourself at all times.
- No friends or phones- it comes off as very “millennial” when students wander the career fair with their best friend at their side, or their eyes glued to their cell phone. Remember that this is a personal experience and requires focus!
- Don’t be afraid to take notes- the recruiter might mention specific deadlines or on-campus interview dates, which you will not want to forget.
- Ask for their card- without any contact information, you will not have the opportunity to follow-up. When you receive their card, plan to send an email thanking the recruiter for their time spent speaking with you. It helps to highlight a distinct bit of advice they offered to show you got something out of the conversation. (Hint: Try following up via LinkedIn – you can send the email through INmail for a personal touch, while also giving the recruiter a second chance to look at your stellar qualifications!)
5. Be prepared: Although this tip is the most obvious, it is always worth mentioning. Make sure your resume is polished (has been looked over by a professional or UD Career Services), that you are dressed appropriately, and that you are always radiating a positive energy. As the saying goes, “They may forget what you said, but they will never forget how you said it!”