Preparing for a Career Fair
Career Fairs are opportunities for Harding students and alumni who are seeking internships or full-time positions to visit with organizations that are on campus to recruit. Whether exploring the world of work and learning about employment opportunities, to finding internships, the fairs benefit all participants. Even if you're not ready to begin your career these are excellent opportunities to begin networking and interviewing.
A first impression is a lasting impression! Dress for success. If you have a suit, wear it. Suit wearers look good, and employers will take you seriously if you take this opportunity seriously. If a business suit is not part of your wardrobe yet, look the best you can. The fair is the first step in the job search and interview process.
RESUMES!!!! Not only will you need to make a good personal impression, but you will need to leave with the employer some documentation about your skills and background. A resume is the one item the employer can take back to the office and review. Remember, the employer will talk to many candidates and will need your resume to review and follow up with you.
There are usually around 40 employers at each of the various career fairs. Some are seeking specific majors and others are open to a variety of majors and skills you will bring to their companies. Don't come up short and run out of resumes. If you would like to know an exact number of attendees for a specific fair, please call us at ext 4454 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Don't worry. That's what we're here for. Check out our page on resume writing. Guidelines and examples are provided. Once you have created a draft, have your resume reviewed by a Career Services Staff member prior to the career fair by emailing it to email@example.com.
These events are busy and hectic. Make an effort to see your "targeted" employers first, and then move on to other companies that interest you. Hundreds of students attend these fairs, so it's best to arrive early and use your time wisely. Some employers will have lines of students waiting to talk to them. If you arrive late, you might miss an opportunity. Be patient, and make the best of the few minutes you will have with each employer. Interviews will not be conducted at the fairs (except for the C-Harmony fair). You will have a few minutes to meet the recruiter, gather information, and share information about yourself. You need to "sell" yourself and your skills to the employer, and then make the best of the short time available.
Though it is probably impossible to research each employer attending the fair, you must research those businesses you are considering. Choose the ones you are most interested in, and learn about what the company does. You don't have to memorize quarterly financial statements, but you need to have a general idea of the company's purpose, what the products and services are, and how you are a match for this company. The more you know, the more seriously you are taken as a candidate for the company.
Know yourself! Be able to articulate the contributions you can make to an organization. If in doubt about your skills, come visit with us (Student Center 239). We will work with you and help you prepare. Employers want enthusiastic employees, so exude enthusiasm! You only have a few minutes with each employer so be able to say what you need to say in 60 seconds and go from there. Don't just ask "what jobs are available," rather focus on the contributions you can make. Employers want to know "what you can do for them," not, "what you want or what they can do for you." Jobs are not filled because a desk is available; they are filled by those that can add value to that organization. Figure out what your value is. Don't know? Come see us!!
Follow up with the employers you met. Get their names and business cards. Send a note thanking the recruiter for the time you spent talking about their job opportunities. Remind him/her of your conversation, and the things you can do for the company. Follow up and attempt to create opportunities. Don't sit back and wait for the phone to ring or an email to appear. Take initiative! Be assertive! Act. Need help with follow-up? Come see us!!
We can assist you after the fair, and in planning your job exploration or job search strategy. Stop by the Career Center in Student Center 239. We would love to visit with you and discuss your next steps.