Career fairs are events in which companies or organizations set up booths where they collect resumes and interview students who could be potential employees. They are a great way for students to interact with different companies and gain insights into the employment process. They provide students with the golden opportunity to network with experienced people from within the industry and interact with them face to face. 

Attending a career fair is a great way for a student to gain information about different job opportunities within the industry and with luck, even get recruited into their dream company! So, to get the most out of this opportunity, students need to know exactly what to do when they get to attend one of these events.

Here is a list of things you should and shouldn’t do at career fairs:

BEFORE THE EVENT

THINGS YOU SHOULD DO:

  • Do your research:

Before you go, make sure to find out which companies and organizations will be present and do your research accordingly. Prepare specific questions for each company so that you get maximum information about the company.

  • Create a priority list:

It is always helpful to make a priority list of the companies you want to meet before you go so that you make maximum use of the time allotted.

  • Make a resume:

Make sure you create a resume that is concise, highlighting all the skills relevant to the position you are applying to and take about 10-20 copies of it before you go. Your resume is one of the things that will make you stand out so make sure you update it.

  • Dress smart:

To make a good first impression, make sure to wear formal attire.

  • Take a small bag:

Before you go, take a small bag with you to carry copies of your resume, portfolio, a pen, and a notebook to take down any important details. Take business cards if you have them.

  • Make an elevator pitch:

Make a 30-second speech that summarizes your skills, experience, and background and why you are suitable for a specific role in their company.

THINGS YOU SHOULDN’T DO:

  • Go without doing any research:

Without knowing which companies will be present, the whole process becomes counterproductive and you won’t be able to gain any useful information on the company you want to work at.

  • Dress inappropriately:

As mentioned before, the way you dress makes an impression on the person who sees you. So avoid wearing jeans or flashy articles of clothing and keep it formal.

  • Make a poor resume:

Avoid making resumes too long and keep it as concise and clear as possible. If a recruiter sees a resume that’s too long they may not take the time to read all of it and may miss out on important points. Make sure that resume has a professional neat template.

  • Not make an elevator pitch:

Making a good elevator pitch will help the recruiter get a clear idea of your skills and experience and make you stand out. So failing to make one could end up putting you at a disadvantage. Try not to just memorize what’s on your resume, a recruiter can glance the resume and know if your pitch is memorized or not so make it sound natural.

  • Set unrealistic expectations:

Don’t always think that you will walk out of a career fair with a job at your dream company. Sometimes you may not be selected for the job, but the important thing to keep in mind is that you will have gained a lot of new connections and information about the company and the industry which is always invaluable. 

DURING THE EVENT

THINGS YOU SHOULD DO:

  • Be early:

Being early helps you get there before the queue builds up. It will also make a good impression.

  • Visit companies in priority order:

This will help you meet employers from companies you are most interested in. If you have more time, visit other companies as well.

  • Be Confident:

When you introduce yourself, do so with a smile and a firm handshake. Make sure you keep eye contact. 

  • Be formal:

While addressing the person, keep it formal and use Mr or Ms unless told otherwise. After you introduce yourself, make your elevator pitch and get ready to answer any questions. Also, make sure you hand them a copy of your resume as you are speaking. Do not wait until the end of the interview to do so.

  • Ask for a business card:

Make sure you ask the recruiter for a business card at the end of the interview so that you can follow up with them later.

THINGS YOU SHOULDN’T DO:

  • Be shy:

Do not be shy or intimidated when you meet up with a representative of a company. Introduce yourself and talk confidently. This will make a good first impression.

  • Be rude:

Never cut off the recruiter while they are speaking and always be formal in your conversation. Do not come across as being impatient and be pleasant while speaking with them.

  • Appear distracted:

Do not keep checking your phone or answer a call while you are in an interview or even standing in line. If recruiters see you, they may get a bad impression. So keep your phone away and be present and attentive.

  • Forget to get the recruiter’s information:

Do not rely on your memory for all the details of a company. You may likely forget them since you are meeting up with so many companies in a short period. Always make sure you ask for their business cards so that you can follow up with them.

  • Not knowing what your interests are:

Not knowing what job you want to apply to or what the company does will make a bad impression on the recruiter and will decrease your chance of getting a job.

AFTER THE EVENT

THINGS YOU SHOULD DO:

  • Follow up:

Make sure to follow up with the recruiter after the event. Send thank-you notes or emails to each person you met with.

  • Act fast:

If a recruiter from a company you are interested in gives you instructions to apply for a job position, do so quickly in a few days while you are still fresh in their minds.

THINGS YOU SHOULDN’T DO:

  • Not remembering to follow up:

Forgetting to follow up with a company will lower your chances of getting hired. Make sure you follow their instructions carefully and contact them while you are still fresh in their memory.

  • Pester them:

Don’t pester the recruiters and contact them only at a time convenient to them.

We hope you find this list useful in your journey to find new opportunities and jobs. As long as you stay true to yourself and display a passion for what you do, the world is your oyster. Good luck with your future endeavors! 

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