A GUIDE ON ATTENDING AND PREPARING FOR CAREER FAIRS
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.
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!
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:
- Log in to jwuLink
- Go to the Jobs & Internships tab
- Go to the Career Events section and click Register
- Go to the Career Events & Workshops tab on the menu at the top
- Select Career Fair from the Category drop-down
- Hit Search
- Select your Campus’ Event
- 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!
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.
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!
Visit link.jwu.edu > jobs & internships and make an appointment with a career advisor for more guidance.