Career Fair Tips for Students


BEFORE THE CAREER FAIR

  • Prepare and bring plenty of marketable resumes.
  • Research the company of interest.
  • Be prepared to ask questions of the representatives.
  • Practice out loud - it helps.
  • Try to identify specific experiences that demonstrate strengths.
  • Back up skills with specific examples - this makes a stronger candidate.
  • Know what type of position is desired within the organization. If applicant does not know, company will not either.
  • Arrange for child care.

DURING THE CAREER FAIR-BEHAVIOR

  • Make a good first impression.
  • Make eye contact immediately during introductions.
  • Give a firm handshake.  
  • Remember the representative's name; if not, casually refer to nametag.
  • Smile and be polite - enthusiasm is an important quality.
  • Dress appropriately/professionally. A suit is not required, but ratty jeans will not make the right impression.
  • Body language often can speak louder than spoken word.
  • Do not fidget or play with hair. Do not rock from side to side.
  • Do not look around when talking or being spoken to.
  • Do not chew gum, suck on candy, or anything that will interfere with ability to speak clearly.

COMMUNICATION IS CRITICAL - LISTENING AND SPEAKING

  • Listen carefully to what the representative has to say.
  • Avoid using filler words such as "um,"
  • The facility may be noisy and if the company can't hear the candidate, they won't remember him/her.
  • Offer a professional-looking resume or offer to send one.
  • Ask for a business card or write down the representative's name. It is also appropriate to ask what the hiring procedure is.
  • Explore all options:  Speak with organizations not considered before.
  • Take the initiative and engage in meaningful conversations with representatives.
  • Representatives will be providing information about their organizations and career fields.
  • Representatives are excellent resources in a career search and decision-making process.

AFTER THE CAREER FAIR

  • Mailing a thank-you letter promptly is appropriate. It will bring attention back to the candidate. This is why asking for a business card is crucial.
  • Send an initial or additional resume with a thank-you letter - again, point out strengths.
  • If sending an application, make sure it is complete and legible.
  • When calling, be prepared and know/practice dialogue beforehand.

ASKING QUESTIONS OF THE REPRESENTATIVES AT THE CAREER FAIR

  • First and foremost, questions should be natural and a natural flow should be maintained. Before beginning with questions be sure to make introductions and establish rapport with the representatives.
  • Listen carefully to their answers. Be courteous. Before leaving, be sure to close the conversation and thank them again.

SAMPLE QUESTIONS TO ASK (Do not read directly from this list of questions at the Career Fair.)

  • How many employees does your company have?
  • What are the prospects for future growth and expansion of the company?
  • Has the organization had any layoffs or cutbacks in the last five years?
  • Why do you enjoy working for this company?
  • What has your organization accomplished of which you are especially proud?
  • What kind of entry-level positions exist within your organization?
  • How can I obtain a listing of current opportunities with your organization?
  • Does your company hire on a continual basis or just certain times of the year?
  • How long does the hiring process take?
  • What does your organization consider the 5 most important qualities in an employee?
  • Are you currently looking for someone with a ____________ background?
  • What courses do you suggest in order to be a successful candidate?
  • Is there a GPA cut-off in the recruiting process?
  • What can an entry-level employee expect to be doing 2, 5, 10 years from now?
  • Are you willing to start someone out on a part-time basis until graduation?
  • Is there a training period?  Where is the training held?
  • What is the retention rate in the company?
  • How much travel is required?
  • What would a typical day be like?
  • Do you expect your employees to relocate?
  • Do you have any company literature that I may read over?

NOTE:  DO NOT DISCUSS SALARY UNLESS THE EMPLOYER BRINGS UP THE SUBJECT.


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LAST UPDATED: 02/2/11

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