’Tis the season to go to career fairs!
Career fairs are always great places to start finding jobs or internships.
There are always many companies present from various industries, specialising in different areas.
Isn’t this exciting for any jobseeker?
While there is undeniably a large supply of companies, there is also another problem: There is also a huge demand for the jobs!
Among the many faces an employer will see, and the many conversations an employer will have, how can one stand out and make the best of a career fair?
We’ve got you covered!
Here is a quick guide with 4 simple steps to help you get ahead and perform well in your career fair in no time!
You don’t want to go into the career fair blindly without first reading this guide!
Career Fair Step 1
‘I’m just going to the career fair to explore my options!’
This thought probably crossed your mind at some point.
If you are treating the career fair and the companies lightly as options, employers will similarly treat you as an option among the hundreds of jobseekers!
There are going to be many different companies of all types and sizes at the career fair.
Without doing any prior homework, the career fair might seem overwhelming. You can easily get lost amidst the throngs of people and companies!
So, it is important to do your homework about the companies participating in the career fair.
Prioritise some industries and companies that you are interested in, and actively prepare for them!
Do your preparatory homework. Find out about their latest news and trends, roles they are looking for, among other details.
Be sure to also pay attention to the skills and culture they value, and think about why these companies appeal to you.
Career Fair Step 2
The old adage holds true, ‘If you fail to plan, you plan to fail!’. You cannot go into a career fair unprepared.
Here are a few things you have to prepare for:
Your elevator pitch
Start the conversation with potential employers with a good and short self-introduction, otherwise known as the elevator pitch.
As defined by Investopedia, an elevator pitch is a term ‘used to describe a brief speech that outlines an idea’.
In this scenario, you want to outline your past achievements and present yourself as a potentially amazing candidate.
Try to keep the pitch within 20-30 seconds. As this is not a one-sided lecture, introductions any longer may run the risk of the employer losing interest.
To do so, think of your unique propositions as compared to your peers.
A good question to ask yourself would be as such:
“Within 20-30 seconds, what can I tell the potential employer to help me stand out, and make him/her interested in me as a candidate?”
Consider what makes you stand out amongst your peers, and what would be relevant and attractive in the eyes of a potential employer.
It is also important to selectively choose “highlights” among all the achievements you have, to present yourself in a way that you want to be known for!
Preparation of questions
Armed with the knowledge from your homework, you are also ready to ask good questions during a conversation at the career fair.
After a good elevator pitch, you can start raising questions naturally in the flow of the conversation.
This is where your prior homework done comes in handy!
Questions will typically fall under a few categories:
- What skills and experiences do you look for for a candidate in [XYZ] position?
- Are there any specific educational background you are looking for in [XYZ] position?
Personal experience specific
- What are some of your favourite things about working at [ABC] company?
- What about your biggest challenges in the company?
- Why did you choose to work for [ABC] company?
- What is the work culture like in [ABC] company?
- What is a career trajectory a candidate can expect in [ABC] company for [XYZ] position?
Keep these questions as a guide, but exhibit knowledge of the company and industry whenever appropriate during the conversation!
Career Fair Step 3
After doing your homework, practising your self-introduction and having your questions down pat, what’s next?
Now, don’t forget the other small details essential to performing well at the career fair!
Do dress professionally!
First impressions matter a lot, so dress smartly to the career fair with at least with a regular work attire.
If you are unsure, it is always better to overdress than to underdress!
Bring your resume!
Dressing does not only include the clothes you wear, but also the important things you bring along with you!
In this case, remember to bring copies of your latest updated resume to the fair. This helps potential employers to scan through your job experiences during the conversation.
If you need help with updating and optimising your resume, contact us here for a free evaluation and review!
The last thing you want is have a good conversation go awry with a erroneous resume, right?
Career Fair Step 4
Now, with good preparation and practice, you are ready to go to the career fair itself! Is there anything else you should look out for?
Here are a few useful tips to take note of:
If possible, it is always good to arrive early to the career fair. The benefits are twofold:
The employers will be much fresher earlier in the day, since they have not met and conversed with most of the students.
For yourself, you can take the chance to approach your top-priority firms first before the crowds swarm into the fair during peak hours.
With less people with each potential employer, you have a better chance of having a longer and more meaningful conversation!
By arriving early, you also allow yourself more time to be flexible. You can also find out more about other organisations that you were not interested in before.
Listen and Learn
At the career fair, make sure to also pay close attention to what potential employers tell you and try to learn and extract as much information as you can.
If you are genuinely interested in the company, remember to demonstrate your interest verbally!
Also, remember to try and get their name cards and contact details to follow up after the career fair.
Take notes if needed after the conversation. Talking to many employers in a short span of time, it can be easy to lose track of the details you have gathered.
Nowadays, some career fairs are even accompanied with talks, networking opportunities and professional photobooths!
Besides just talking to employers, make sure to make full use of these additional resources as well!
If you have made it this far, give yourself a pat on the back! You are now more well equipped to perform and make the best of your upcoming career fair!
Now go follow the steps in this guide closely, and approach your career fair with confidence!
If you are looking to an easy but professional way to improve your resume before the career fair, we are here for you! You can find out more about our resume writing service here!