Anyone who knows anything about the Concordia Career Center knows that we love career fairs. Whether they’re hosted by Concordia or a partnering school, our Career Center is always publicizing at least one.
Career fairs can be intimidating, especially if you haven’t been to one before. You’re entering a room full of possible future employers, and suddenly all of the doubts start flooding in. You’re overdressed, you’re underdressed, your resume is in too small of a font, you got a B in speech class, you’ve been told you have too firm of a handshake. Yes. Career fairs can be intimidating. However, the following few tips will give you the resources to impress even the scariest of employers at our next fair.
- Be confident. This step is by far the most important. Confidence can be sensed. If you don’t believe in yourself, employers will be a lot less likely to want to believe in you. Take a few minutes to yourself before walking into the room to go over some positive self-talk. While talking with employers, maintain a confident stance- stand with good posture, smile, shake their hand firmly but not tightly, and don’t be afraid to show your true personality.
- Dress the part. Make sure that you are dressed business casual to business formal- definitely no jeans or t-shirts. While you want to look professional, try to incorporate your personality into your outfit of choice. Whether that’s a pair of earrings from your favorite vacation spot or a tie in your favorite color, looking good and feeling like yourself will give you more confidence.
- Do your research. Before the fair take a look at the employers that will be attending. Pick out a few that you are particularly interested in and do some research on them. Look up what positions they might be hiring for, what their mission is, and what their company culture looks like. Come prepared with a few questions for the recruiter. This doesn’t mean that you have to limit yourself to talking only with recruiters from your selected employers though!
- Prepare your story. Put together a short, 30 second to one minute spiel on yourself; your major, your experience, what makes you different from the next applicant, your hopes and dreams for the future, and how you think the specific employer might fit into that. Practice it in front of friends until you are able to breeze through it comfortably.
- Polish up your resume. Make sure that your resume is up to industry standards. Try to create a customized one for each of your selected employers- just make sure to not give a resume to the wrong employer! Make sure that it’s down to one page and in a readable font, and print it out on resume paper, available through the Career Center. Print out a few non-customized ones as spares for employers that you hadn’t planned for as well.
Above all, enter the career fair as yourself. Don’t build a story that you think will impress employers; build a story that reflects who you are. While getting job offers from every employer there would be impressive, your goal should be to make a real connection with even just one company that you could see yourself being truly comfortable at.
Stop by the Career Center any work day between 8:00 am and 5:00 pm for pre-fair resume help, mock interviews, and other free services.
Written by: Career Peer Nicky
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