While websites like Indeed.com, Linkedin, and Glassdoor have created new ways for job seekers and employers to connect, they have definitely not abandoned the “old fashioned” campus career fair. There is still a need on both sides of the search (job seeker and employer), to get out and actually talk to each other in person. Consequently, most college campuses still have career fairs where employers set up booths and tables for students to stop by to explore career opportunities. If your campus is having a career fair, here are a few things you should know:
- You don’t have to be a senior to go the career fair! Career fairs are important career development opportunities for first, second, and third year students. In addition to recruiting seniors for full-time jobs, recruiters are usually looking to fill summer intern positions. Internships are often referred to as the new first job, so take advantage of career fairs to ask employers about their internship programs. Even if you're not looking for an internship, talking to a few recruiters is a great way to explore career fields and find out about the skills that employers are seeking. Don’t be shy, go and ask questions!
- Dress up and get a resume ready! If you're seriously searching for full-time jobs or internships, it's important to put your best foot forward. This means dressing nicely, making sure you're groomed appropriately, and having a resume that has been reviewed by someone from your career center. You should also you rehearse a 30 second “elevator speech” that tells a little about you, your skills, and what type of opportunities you're interested in. Even if you do not get these things ready, it is still good to go to have more casual conversations with recruiters.
- Relax, recruiters are friendly people! Employers usually send outgoing, friendly people to college career fairs. Most are used to talking to college students and enjoy doing it. If you go up an introduce yourself, these recruiters will do a nice job a ”leading the conversation.” Recruiters genuinely enjoy getting out to colleges and universities to visit with students about their organization’s opportunities.
- Your campus career center can help prepare you! There are a lot of career fair nuances not mentioned here that a visit with a career counselor can really help you understand. Stop by your school’s career center to get information about upcoming career fairs and to make an appointment with a career counselor. They can help you prepare your resume, elevator speech, and help you target what companies you might want to visit with at upcoming career fairs.