5 Questions to Prepare for Career Fair

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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.

PwC’s Top 5 Tips to Career Fair Success

Killing it at the Career Fair!

Killing it at the Career Fair!
souce: northeastern.edu

This guest post was written by Gillian Orsburn, a Campus Recruiter for PwC and frequent Career Fair attendee.

As a Northeastern student, words like “career,” “co-op,” and “networking” likely make their way into your daily conversations.  While planning the next phase of your professional life can be exciting, sometimes the sheer quantity of events and opportunities can seem overwhelming.  With Northeastern’s Career Fair coming up on Thursday, October 3rd here are some tips to help narrow down the options and stand out amongst the competition:

  1. Do the research. You don’t just wake up one day and say, “I think I’d like to work at so and so” and land the internship. You need to make sure you devote the appropriate time and effort to getting to know the companies you are interested in and understanding your options.  Talk to your friends, family, career advisors, upper-classmen and faculty to learn more about the industries and firms you’d be best suited for.  Doing research will not only help you leave a good impression but also help you pursue a good fit.
  1. Find a friend to be your mirror. Ask an honest friend, one who is genuinely interested in your success, to evaluate the first impression you give. At a career fair you should always dress in a professional business suit; have the friend look at the suit front and back, up and down – looking for lint, a tag sticking out, too many buttons unbuttoned, etc – to ensure you are dressed appropriately.  Ask the friend to shake your hand (should be a firm, quick handshake), listen as you say your name (make sure there’s nothing in your teeth and you have fresh breath!), and assess your pitch (should be rehearsed but also specific to how your experiences align with the company needs).
  1. Speaking of your pitch, you will need to know your personal brand. Someone who knows and maximizes their strengths. Someone who contributes a unique and valuable ingredient to their team. When you’re developing yourself at school and seeking to make your next professional move, you must be fully aware of your own unique qualities and demonstrate them consistently in everything you do.  Even though your top strengths are only a few of many facets of your personal brand, they are absolutely vital to reaching your goals. When working on a class project, looking for an internship or pursuing a first job out of school, you need to actively integrate your greatest strengths.
  1. Be prepared to hand over your resume.  All that free stuff given out at company tables can be great…until you no longer have hands for handshakes or the ability to easily find or grasp your resume.  Given the amount of students at each career fair, every second is valuable to a recruiter.  Make sure you have your hands ready and your resume is easily accessible.  Try speaking to all your target companies first, then go around at the end for the free stuff.
  1. Ask good questions and make yourself memorable, but be aware of the line of students behind you.  Make sure you show off your main skills and experience and ask your burning questions, but remember there are students behind you who want to do the same.  Take a few short minutes with the recruiting team, then ask for a business card to follow up later in the week with any additional information or questions.

For more tips on starting on your personal brand journey as you get ready to launch your career, participate in PwC’s personal brand experience by visiting our website at www.pwc.com/us/personalbrand 

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