So I decided to finally write a blog tackling the monster of career fairs. For most college students the career fair is the most dreaded, but most important days of the semester. Often characterized by long lines and defeated faces, the career fair can be a very positive experience if you know what you’re doing. As an old guy who has been to his fair share of career fairs, I thought I would offer a few pieces of advice to lock down an interview and set yourself up for success.
1) Perfect your elevator pitch – Your elevator pitch is your 30 second opportunity to wow a recruiter with a first impression. While seemingly simple, it is good to spice yours up with an interesting (but relevant) fact or hobby. Typical elevator pitches start with your name, year and major, and then you briefly explain your campus involvements and relevant experience. Make sure it is short, sweet, and to the point.
2) Dress well! – An often overlooked aspect of recruiting events is the ability to dress well. Your outfit is the very first thing a recruiter will notice about you and it’s a very easy way to set yourself apart. Know the difference between professional and business casual attire, and know that it’s pretty much impossible to overdress for the career fair.
3) RESUME PAPER – A huge opportunity to score bonus points is to print your resume on thick, professional resume paper. I’m honestly surprised that so many people still handout regular white printer paper resumes, and recruiters have even made comments to me about how impressed they were that I had a more professional looking resume simply because of the paper. You can find resume paper at the bookstore or pretty much anywhere that sells printer paper, and it’s well worth the investment.
4) Familiarize yourself with your resume – This goes hand-in-hand with not padding your resume with fluff that you’ve never actually done. Odds are the recruiter is going to look at your resume and ask you specific questions about the projects you’ve done and the internships/jobs you’ve had, and if you can’t give them more information beyond the few bullets on your resume you probably aren’t going to get the job.
5) Supplement technical with behavioral – As an engineering student you shouldn’t fall into the trap of thinking that all of your involvements need to be of technical nature. Don’t be afraid to market your experiences in clubs that have nothing to do with engineering, especially if you’ve held leadership positions in those clubs, because it shows a recruiter that you have more to offer their company than just technical knowledge. Well-rounded applicants get hired.
6) Confidence confidence confidence – Perhaps the most important part of it all—be confident. There are going to be hundreds of people shuffling their way through lines, and you can guarantee that almost every one of them is super nervous. Recruiters admire confidence in your skills and experiences AND in your body language, and you can bet that they want confident people to work for them.
Well that’s just a short list of quick tips, but if you ever have any questions to navigating the career fair, or just searching for internships and/or jobs in general feel free to reach out and I’d be more than happy to help!Meet Alex