Career fairs can be somewhat overwhelming. From ensuring that your resume is up-to-date to perfecting your elevator pitch, there are many details to consider. However, jobseekers must remember, employers are also there to promote their best selves. The pressure is certainly not one-sided. When it comes to preparing, members of our University Relations recruitment team – Janixia Reyes, Alicia Hitchcock, and Jamie Roshka – shared three essential tips to consider:
Traditionally, career fairs will publish a list of employers attending the event in advance. Utilize this information to select and prioritize the companies you wish to connect with. Research those companies online, utilizing their company and career websites and social media channels. Collect general information about the company, their core values and mission statement as well as recent news about the company and any available job openings.
“Having conducted research before speaking to representatives from a company will make you stand out as someone who has taken the time to learn more,” said Reyes, “It will also help you curate your questions to maximize the time you have with the representatives behind the table.”
You won’t get much time with one person or company, so it is important to make a good impression quickly. Have your pitch ready to summarize your skills and experience in a concise and memorable manner.
“Think of this as a personal commercial,” said Hitchcock, “Your pitch should grab the employer’s attention, keep it, and give them cause to recall it later.”
Take the time to thoughtfully craft your pitch and practice it for length and efficiency. Having it committed to memory will bring confidence and enthusiasm to your delivery.
Hitchcock added, “Be sure that your pitch is genuine and rehearsed so that you can speak calmly and effectively about the subject you know best – you.”
“Effectively communicating your objectives gives the recruiter insight into whether you’d be a fit for their organization,” said Roshka, “It also helps them assess what role or job would work best for you.”
If you aren’t sure what your specific career goals are yet, focus on your skill set and apply it to the company you are speaking with.
“If you don’t know yet what you want to do that’s okay, too! As a recruiter it’s helpful to know if a candidate has a definitive long-term plan or if there are other opportunities we can introduce that you may not have been aware of,” added Roshka.
No matter your major, no matter the industry you’re most interested in pursuing, your ability to vocalize the correlation between your skills and the scope of an opportunity is critical. That includes highlighting details that are specific to each of the employers you connect with during the fair and beyond.