Top Tips for Career Fair Prep

Career Fair

Wel­come to the jungle. I’ll be your guide.

The Career Fair is coming up the pike, and fast: October 3rd, to be exact. This past Monday, Career Ser­vices held a work­shop for stu­dents eager to hear recruiter secrets for making the most of a career fair. The uni­ver­sity wel­comed a panel of three recruiters — Scott Keeler of Lib­erty Mutual, Brendan Murphy of Con­stant Con­tact, and Chris McMahon of Vistaprint - to share their suc­cess tips for stu­dents.

Didn’t make it to the work­shop? Not to worry! Here are the biggest take­aways from the event.

What should stu­dents do to prepare?

  • Scott: Know your strengths, and know your resume inside and out! Anything on your resume is fair game for a recruiter to ask you to explain in more detail.
  • Brendan: If you're interested in different kinds of positions, carry a couple versions of your resume. Having a tailored "software company" resume and an "insurance company" resume, for instance, will help showcase your skills no matter which recruiters you meet.

What can stu­dents do that impresses you the most?

  • Chris: It's great when students have researched the company. The more prepared you are, the more time you have to sell yourself, since the recruiter won't have to explain what the company does.
  • Brendan: Tell us about your passions. We like to see students who are enthusiastic about the things they do, especially if those passions can help our company grow.

What are some pet peeves that stu­dents should avoid?

  • Brendan: It's annoying when students drop off their resume at the table without saying anything, and then leave immediately. We want to have a conversation and learn more about you!
  • Scott: A lot of employers bring free things to give away. Don't cut the line and start rifling through the free stuff that the employers will have on the table!

What are the WORST ques­tions a stu­dent could ask an employer?

  • Chris: "So who are you?"
  • Scott: "I've applied to 35 positions at your company. Why haven't you hired me yet?"
  • And a bonus from Tina: "Wow me."

How should stu­dents follow up with employers after the career fair?

  • Scott: Write a thank you note to the recruiters you met! Be sure to reference the specifics of your conversation in the note, or else the recruiter might not remember you!
  • Chris: Don't send a generic thank you note that could apply to any organization! Cater it to that specific recruiter from that company.
  • Brendan: If an employer gives you their business card, this is an open invitation to contact him or her. And be sure to do so!

Here’s one final tip from all three of our recruiter pan­elists: Be your­self! At the end of the day, recruiters are just fellow humans who aren’t scary at all. Explore new com­pa­nies, expand your net­work, and have fun! The more fun you have, the more you’ll get out of the Career Fair!

Amy Annette Henion is a senior com­mu­ni­ca­tions major with minors in the­atre and East Asian studies. She basi­cally lives in the the­atre depart­ment office on the first floor of Ryder. Follow/​tweet her at @amyannette37 and read her blog here.