Business and Marketing Education
Why go to the job fair?
There are a couple of really good reasons, and in my opinion the main one is the face to face experience. Because candidates today can apply to practically any job online, employers will appreciate individuals who took the time to come in and meet them in person. Another great reason is the practice. At the job fair, you can practice your networking skills and work on overcoming the initial fear of approaching someone that you never met before in a professional setting. Also, introducing yourself and talking to company recruiters is a great way to repeat your elevator speech and work on your interview skills.
Who do you think should attend the fair?
Some people may think that the job fair is only meant for juniors and seniors. However, this is not true at all. My first time at the job fair was during my freshman year, and even though I was not looking for a job at that time I still learned a lot. For example, I got familiar with a large number of companies that I have never heard about before. Had I not gone to the fair, I would have limited my job search in the future only to the companies that I was familiar with. Therefore, it is wise to spend some time at the job fair learning about the business of different companies. You will be surprised how much you can find out about new opportunity that best match your needs.
What do you recommend doing before attending?
I think that a couple of things are critical before attending:
- Make sure that you look at the list of companies attending and choose the ones that you want to speak to their recruiters. Take some time to research them, so you can have something to talk about to their representatives. Remember that the few minutes that you spend with the recruiters can sometimes be critical.
- Print a couple of copies of your resume. Make sure that is it the most updated copy, and if needed visit the career services for advise!
- Practice your elevator speech, or at least make sure that you have an appropriate opening line to introduce yourself. Also, practice your handshake if you are uncomfortable about it.
- Relax, and set yourself reasonable expectations. You may not get a job offer on the spot, but you for sure will be one step ahead in your job search only by attending. Remember that the job fair is for creating the initial contact with employers and learning about new opportunities. As long as you come to the fair feeling comfortable and with an open mind, you will have fun.
- Bring a binder for the business cards and other materials that you will receive. You do not want to walk around with a pile of papers in your hand. Also, bring a pen so you can write on the back of the business cards some of the things that you talked about with the recruiters. The notes will be useful when thinking about how to begin a follow up email.
Finally, what to wear?
At the fair that I attended, I was impressed that students who wore a business attire rather than casual looking clothes appeared to make a better first impression. Since a job fair is a professional event, definitely go with the business look.