Making the Most of a Career Fair

A GUIDE ON ATTENDING AND PREPARING FOR CAREER FAIRS

  Susan Sunita Kuruvilla is a May 2017 MBA candidate and Graduate Assistant in Experiential Education & Career Services. She is currently the President of the Graduate Student Association and graduate student representative on the University Curriculum Committee. Prior to attending JWU, Susan received her undergraduate degree in Economics from St. Xavier’s College in Kolkata, India and has four years experience working in advertising. During her time at agencies like  Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide  and  Stirred Creativ  e , Susan managed global clients and led the team on an award winning campaign.

Susan Sunita Kuruvilla is a May 2017 MBA candidate and Graduate Assistant in Experiential Education & Career Services. She is currently the President of the Graduate Student Association and graduate student representative on the University Curriculum Committee. Prior to attending JWU, Susan received her undergraduate degree in Economics from St. Xavier’s College in Kolkata, India and has four years experience working in advertising. During her time at agencies like Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide and Stirred Creative, Susan managed global clients and led the team on an award winning campaign.

Like many of you, I’m entering the home stretch. My time at JWU is quickly coming to a close as I study for Winter term finals, plan my Spring internship, and prepare for graduation in May!

It’s a lot to think about knowing the real world is knocking on your door. At the same time, I know that the experiences I’ve had at Johnson & Wales have prepared me for that ‘real world’. Here are some tips I picked up while working as a Graduate Assistant in Experiential Education & Career Services.


 JWU students network at a career fair

JWU students network at a career fair

Before the Career Fair

One of the most underestimated steps in planning for a Career Fair is to Know Your Goal. And by that, we’re not talking about knowing that you want a job or an internship. Knowing your goal requires a deeper understanding of the way you want to feel when you leave the Career Fair.

In a room buzzing with the sounds of palpable excitement, nervousness and competition, making an impressive first impression on an employer can be a tall order. But you’d be surprised how simple forethought and planning can give you the outcome you’re hoping for!

 

Research

A great place to start is to do some basic research on the employers that will be at the Career Fair. Here’s how you can do that:

  1. Log in to jwuLink
  2. Go to the Jobs & Internships tab
  3. Go to the Career Events section and click Register
  4. Go to the Career Events & Workshops tab on the menu at the top
  5. Select Career Fair from the Category drop-down
  6. Hit Search
  7. Select your Campus’ Event
  8. Select View Employers Attending

Research the employers that you’re interested in, and then prioritize the ones you will focus your attention on. Nothing dampens a Career Fair experience like bustling through the crowd without knowing what you’re looking for. A little research can go a long way!


 JWU students speak to Hyatt employees at a career fair.

JWU students speak to Hyatt employees at a career fair.

At the Career Fair

Once you’re at the Career Fair, make the most of it. It isn’t often that employers gather for hours in a purposeful effort to meet students. Here are a few things you should do, if you want to leave with more than some cool giveaways!

 

Be mindful of your body language

In many ways, a career fair is a test of your social skills. Remember to introduce yourself confidently and shake hands with people you meet. Employers are almost always friendly and outgoing, so they’ll expect the same from you!

 

Ask good questions

Asking the right questions is a great way to show an employer that you did your research. Employers are just as impressed with the questions you pose, as well as your well-thought-out answers.

 

Listen

Don’t ask a question with the sole intention of sounding intelligent. Employers can see through that! Be genuinely interested and listen to what they’re saying. You could learn something you didn’t know, and they’ll be impressed with your mindset.

 

Bring Your Resume and Business Cards

Make sure that your resume is in good shape, and if you don’t have a business card yet - making one is a great investment! Business cards add an extra touch of personality to accompany your resume. Bring enough copies of both, so that you can leave a set with every employer that you meet.

 

Request Business Cards from Employers

An important part of going to the Career Fair is following up with the employers that you met. So, remember to ask them for their business cards too! This will show confidence, and will also help you send ‘thank you’ notes to the right people.

A little time and effort can easily turn into an opportunity that you might not have otherwise had. So don’t let a Career Fair overwhelm you. Instead, remember that leaving with what you wanted will take a little more than a great suit and resume!


Want more?

Visit link.jwu.edu > jobs & internships and make an appointment with a career advisor for more guidance.