6 Tips for Success at Fall Career Days
It’s that time of the year, folks. Time to shine your shoes and tie your best full-Windsor knot: it’s career fair time. The Bryce Jordan Center floor during the career fair can be extremely intimidating for newcomers or anxious students looking for a job, co-op, or internship, but it doesn’t have to be. I’ve attended the career fair at the BJC the past 3 years and have a few tricks of the trade to share with those that will be attending and are looking for some prep tools.
1. Do your homework.
The single-most essential thing to do before showing up at the career fair is to go to the fall career days website and view the list of employers attending. From there, select your top 10 companies and do a bit of research. See what recent moves and news that company has been making and think about how you can incorporate it into your elevator pitch. This leads straight into tip #2.
2. Practice your elevator pitch.
The elevator pitch is a 30-second pitch that you must have in your toolbox for recruiting season. At the career fair, you’re not going to have an extended amount of face time with the recruiters for each company, so it’s essential to capitalize on the little time you have. In your elevator pitch, be sure to show your knowledge of the company and its products or services by asking questions related to current events involving the company. Also, be sure to be charismatic and convey confidence and genuine interest and excitement about the company.
3. Fine-tune your résumé and bring extra copies.
Be sure that your résumé includes quantifiable metrics and achievements and is aesthetically correct. It is in your best interest to bring extra copies in case you see a company that’s not on your list that interests you. Résumé paper (despite what people tell you) is not essential, but does provide a nice touch.
4. The man (or woman) makes the suit, but a good suit goes a long way.
First impressions are everything, and in this world a good-looking outfit goes a long way during recruiting season. Be professional, but not boring. The black suit and tie won’t stand out, but the charcoal suit with the royal blue tie and gray shirt will. Shine your shoes and make sure your outfit has no wrinkles. Guys, be sure to shave and looked trimmed and proper. Ladies, this is a recruiting event for major corporations, not sororities. Trust me, your appearance is the first thing a recruiter notices and conveys a lot about your persona.
5. Don’t take the free stuff.
Sure, it’s there for you to take, but you look unprofessional walking around with a bright blue bag filled with candy, pens and shirts. If you really need to have this stuff, go back to the companies you’re not interested in only after handing out all of your resumes to companies on your list and feel free to grab some junk.
The job, co-op and internship search is stressful enough without adding anxiety about a big career recruitment day. When you get checked in at the BJC, go downstairs and take a walk around the entire floor. Look for the companies on your list, and only after walking around the floor and acclimating yourself to the environment, should you approach those companies. This will calm your nerves and increase confidence and level out your anxiety.
These six tips should go a long way to helping you prepare and succeed at the career fair. Your résumé and interviewing skills are up to you, but these points are what will help convey some confident corporate swag you’ll need to land the big gig.