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7 tips for Successful Career Fairs

October 23, 2012

Steven Burrell has been writing about education and business solutions for nearly ten years. He believes that student assessment testing results in happier employees in more productive workplaces. Click to read more from Steven.

Steven Burrell

By Steven Burrell

The beginning of a career is an exciting time. But it is also a scary and nerve wracking time! A time for over preparing and second-guessing, so it can be stressful to be embarking on a new path. Many colleges and local communities try to ease that transition by setting up career fairs. They invite prospective employers to set up booths and send representatives to talk to students. Students, meanwhile, are invited to bring their enthusiasm and open minds.

Going to a career fair can feel overwhelming for students or new graduates. But instead of viewing them with trepidation, attendees should look at career fairs as opportunities. Below are some helpful tips for more successful career fairs:

1. Dress appropriately

Your physical appearance makes your first impression and first impressions, we all know, are very important. So even if you are coming from class or if the career fair is early in the morning, make sure you look polished and professional. Professional doesn’t mean wearing a suit necessarily, but it does mean avoiding jeans with holes in them, tank tops, and sneakers.

2. Bring plenty of copies of your resume.

Not every company will want a resume, but you should be prepared to give out as many as necessary. Bring them in a leather bound portfolio if you can get one. If not, just use a regular folder. Either way, make sure you have plenty of flat, non-folded, clean resumes to hand out to prospective employers.

3. Make sure your resume shines

Even if you don’t have a lot of experience, talk yourself up as much as possible on your resume. Talk about your achievements and skills, but of course, do not lie. Make sure there are no typos – not a single one! – and that the resume is pleasing to the eye. That means enough white space, good alignment, and other design techniques. Look on the internet for examples of good resumes and feel free to copy a lot of the formatting.

4. Be friendly and positive

Even if you do not think you are interested in the company, stay friendly and upbeat. Think of every conversation as a mini-interview and all of them as great practice for real interviews. Even if you do not think you would ever want a particular job, if you are in an interview for it, consider it a great practicing opportunity.

5. Ask a lot of questions.

When you ask a question to a representative of a company, you engage them. When that happens they are more likely to remember you than if the many people they will simply speak to about the company. Learn about the employer and ask the questions you genuinely want to know. Your genuine interest will show through, making you a better candidate.

6. Get business cards and follow up.

Make sure that you take contact information for the people you speak to if you are interested in their companies. Then when you get home email them to follow up. Ask a good question if you can to make the conversation last longer, and to develop a real relationship!

7. Relax and have a good time.

In this economy, it can feel like there is a lot of pressure to find a job and only a few jobs to land. Don’t let this pressure affect your ability to relax and make real connections.

If you walk out of a job fair without a job or any new relationships, the only thing you have lost is time. But if you follow these tips that almost certainly will not happen anyway! So go out and have a good time meeting people.

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