As the 2019 Career and Internship Career Fair quickly approaches on February 13th, you’ve probably started to think about the job search and how to best represent and make yourself stand out at the fair. Let’s face it, some people are just confident and comfortable by nature and others need a little time to prepare exactly how they want to present themselves on that day. I’ve attended quite a few career fairs and would love to share some tips and best practices to make the best of this year’s career fair.
Dress for Success
I don’t think that you can ever be overdressed when it comes to a career fair or job interview. Invest in one nice suit and wear it to all career events. No one will ever know the difference! Keep in mind professionalism when it comes to clothes, shoes, jewelry and hair. Business professional doesn’t have to be boring. Feel free to show your personality with some color or an accessory. Some companies have a casual dress code day-to-day, but I don’t think anyone will ever judge you for being “too dressed up.” In my opinion, dressing to impress is the start to building your brand. When you pair that with a strong handshake and a big smile, you already have a great start. Enterprise is all about customer service and leadership so I always look for someone who communicates well and who has a strong presence.
Bring your Resume
When it comes to what you should bring with you for the career fair, I think it’s important to have several resumes printed out and on hand. Not everyone will ask for one as some employers will solely have you sign in and apply electronically but you never want to be stuck not having one if a recruiter asks. I personally like to have a resume in hand just so that I can follow through as you talk to me about your background and accomplishments.
Prepare an Elevator Pitch
Some students will prepare an “elevator pitch” for their interactions with different companies. This is simply a short overview of who you are, a little background on past jobs, internships, and school involvement, and what you are looking for in a career. While an elevator pitch isn’t necessary, for those who don’t feel as confident freely chatting with new people, it’s useful to get all your thoughts quickly jotted down on paper beforehand. Grab a friend and practice in front of them. This will help ease any jitters that you might have!
Go into the fair with a plan. Once you are given a list of all companies and attendees for the fair, mark off the ones that you have definite interest in and do some research ahead of time. Learn a little bit about the company history and culture so that you can have an educated conversation with the recruiter. Ask specific questions based on the job that you are interested in! While it is important to make sure that you hit all of your top picks at the fair, also stay open minded! Take advantage of this time to get out there and network. If you see a friendly face from a company that you hadn’t initially thought about, give it a chance. Who knows, you might find a career at a company you hadn’t considered at the beginning. When you walk up to a booth, act engaged and interested and keep a high energy level.
Hopefully these tips help to build your confidence for the fairs and the job search ahead. All it takes is a little practice but keep an open mind and don’t see the experience as a chore! See the career fair as a great opportunity to build your network and start your career off on the right foot!