I had the opportunity to speak with Neil Brennan of Meltwater recently about campus recruiting and career fairs. In five quick questions, he nailed down the best (and worst) things you can do at a career fair.
Without further ado, here they are…
1. What types of skills and qualifications do you look for in new graduates?
Well, we’re not really looking for specific degree discipline. We’re looking for people who have graduated top of their class. They typically are also active and involved in other things besides just their studies. Our graduates who come on board have some leadership experience as well. Whether it was a captain of their team or in charge of their sorority.
2. If you had one piece of advice for a student navigating the fair- what would it be?
I think that if a student is attending a career fair, they should want to make an impression when they talk to an employer. There are those who go there to extract information and those who go there to make a strong impression. If I could give advice, it would be to go there and do both. They should really be aware of the fact that they should leave the employer with the strongest impression of themselves
3. What is a Career Fair “no-no”?
If you want to work at a company where you would wear a suit to work everyday, go to the career fair wearing a suit. We are looking for students to dress to impress
4. What do you recommend students bring to the career fair?
Definitely recommend bringing a cover letter if possible as well. We’ll accept resumes, cover letters. For strong candidates we use those later on if they reach out to apply for a position.
Bring a level of research with you. When you do approach and have a conversation with the employer, it’s very obvious you know about the company even if you may have questions still. That will go a long way to make you stand out.
Bring a general level of interest. One mistake is a candidate can make is standing there and expecting the employer to impress them. Bring energy, enthusiasm, and questions.
5. How does a student stand out from the crowd?
One simple piece of advice, obviously almost like a cliche, but first impressions do count. Go up there, make an impression, say hello, shake their hand firmly, and start a discussion rather than hanging back and waiting for the employer to approach you.