Your college life is coming to an end and it’s time to start preparing for the next phase in your life. At a time like this, many colleges host job fairs to give their students the opportunity to meet employers and learn more about their career prospects.
Don’t make the mistake of skipping these job fairs. What better way to jumpstart your career than a platform like this wherein you get access to multiple potential employers, isn’t it?
Job fairs are your chance to get noticed, shine and leave a lasting impression on companies. If you think you can just walk in there and network, you are mistaken. This is a golden opportunity that requires you to be well-prepared in order to succeed.
How you ask? Here are 6 tips to stand out in college job fairs and make them worthwhile:
The first thing you should do when you hear of a job fair is to find out which companies are attending. It helps to know who you are likely to meet and prepare accordingly rather than cluelessly diving into a conversation when you meet them.
Based on your interests and career goals, make a list of prospective employers you would like to approach over the course of the fair. Read up on them, and check their company websites. If you know who exactly is attending from the company, look them up on LinkedIn. It helps to give a face to the name and read up on them well in advance.
Doing quality research helps you ask meaningful questions and contribute towards a more interesting conversation during your interaction.
Prepare an Elevator Pitch
We have all heard about how elevator pitches if done right can open up avenues. But perfecting it is no easy feat.
Elevator pitches are meant to be succinct. You need to highlight your strengths, share your goals and mention your career goals. The idea is to grab the listener’s attention and keep them interested. The best way to end the pitch is by handing over your resume or even a business card that can direct them to your website, LinkedIn profile or any other portal that reveals your personal brand.
While crafting an elevator pitch can be overwhelming, the only way to get better is by practicing it regularly.
The way you dress speaks a lot about you and forms your first impression. From choosing the right attire to being well-groomed, you need to look presentable, crisp and fresh.
Another important factor students overlook is comfort. Yes, you might think wearing heels or a tight-fitted shirt might make you look better but if you aren’t comfortable in your clothes, it is slowly going to start reflecting in your demeanor.
Unlike an interview, where you are mostly seated and which goes on for an hour at the most, career fairs are a lot more demanding. You are required to be on your toes and cannot afford to just look ‘stylish’. So, remember to be comfortable in what you wear. It’s also a good idea to try on your clothes a day before the fair so you know how it comes together and what you feel.
You must aim to reach at least 30 – 45 minutes before the career fair begins. This will give you ample time to stay calm, get familiar with the venue and approach employers before the others do. Remember that employers are bound to be surrounded by many students and the earlier you catch them, the better it is. Hence, ensure you are well-rested and are present at the fair well before the employers start trickling in.
Make the First Move
Yes, the thought of approaching recruiters at a fair can be intimidating, especially if you are an introvert. But know that this is a once in a lifetime opportunity to network and you need to make it work for yourself.
Don’t hesitate to walk up to an employer and introduce yourself. Approach them confidently with a firm handshake, smiling face and positive attitude and start the conversation. Keep your pitch ready and express genuine interest in the conversation.
If you come across instances where the employer does not seem interested, don’t let it bother you. Just end the conversation politely and leave. However, that should not stop you from networking with as many people as possible.
The fair is over. And if you think your work is done, you are mistaken. A very common mistake students make is not following up with those they interacted with at the fair. You cannot expect for recruiters to approach you, you need to make the effort to remind them of your interaction.
So, always send recruiters a follow up mail, thanking them for their time and reiterating your eagerness to work with them. You must also add a compelling cover letter and attach your resume in this mail. Make sure you personalize these follow up mails and send them within 48 hours of the meeting.