Career fairs are one of those things that no one looks forward to attending but are often extremely helpful in the job search process. It’s a chance to connect with recruiters from several businesses in a short amount of time. You are able to get your resume directly into the hands of the hiring team, and you have a chance to share a quick highlight about who you are and why they should consider your materials.
The University of Denver prides itself on deep connections across the Denver metro, Colorado and across the world. When we host a career fair, company representatives are often flying into Denver to attend the event. How can you maximize your quick connection with them? Here is a list of some suggestions to elevate your career fair opportunities:
Before the event:
- Research who will be attending
When you sign up for a career fair on Pioneer Career Online, you will have access to a list of companies who will be attending with their open positions. Career Fairs at the University of Denver can range from 20-200 employees from Colorado and out-of-state. From the master list, you can prioritize which companies you want to approach based on your interest. That way you can make sure that you will be able to talk to your top choice companies in case you run out of time at the fair.
We highly recommend you do research about your top choices, their most recent accomplishments and prepare great questions to ask at the fair.
- Preparation is very important
Resume (10-20 copies), business cards (if you have one) in a portfolio/ folder or a notepad. (Tips to make your resume stands out). Practice your elevator pitch or a 20-30 second introduction of yourself. Think about several reasons why you would add value to the companies, which make you different from other candidates. Recall all of your accomplishments in the past that have formed your leadership, teamwork and other skills. Don’t be afraid to ask Career Advisor and Peers at DU, your friends, or parents for some suggestions.
- Dress professionally comfortable
Everybody knows that you need to dress for success at a career fair to make a good first impression with potential employers. However, wearing something professionally comfortable will help you maximize your confidence. Make sure you choose a super comfortable pair of shoes because you may have to walk around and stand on your feet for several hours to network with people.
Also, a light bag/handbag is highly recommended. You want to be able to easily move around among hundreds of people at the event and free your hands for handshakes. Also, save some room for companies’ flyers/card/information in your handbag/briefcase.
Here are some attire tips:
During the event:
- Be confident, make a positive impression and smile
When talking to the employers, be confident, and show them your authentic self and how awesome you are. Don’t forget to smile, make eye contact and give a firm handshake. Concisely explain to the employers why you are a good fit for their company, but don’t speak too fast. You want to be both considerate to other students waiting in the line and stay calm explaining your interest at the same time.
- Hand your resume
Sometimes students are very into a conversation with employers and leave the table without handing over their well-crafted resume to the employers. One tip is while you are introducing yourself, take your resume out, hand it to the employer and point out relevant experiences as you are talking about them. That would draw the employer’s attention and help your resume stand out in the employer’s mind.
- Ask for contact and take note
Keep track of your conversations with employers. A tip to help you recall the conversation later is to ask the employers for a business card and put some notes about what you discussed with them right after you leave the table.
After the fair:
- Follow up
Within 1-2 days after the fair, follow up with the employers that you met with a thank you note. However, don’t copy paste the email/note. Personalizing the message with the note you took during the fair will give employers a good impression about you. Also. connect with them on LinkedIn (with a customized message) to learn more about other opportunities in the future. However, before doing that, you need to polish your profile first. (Tips to build a LinkedIn Profile)
There are a lot of students attending career fairs at DU and it may seem not easy to make yourself stand out. However, as long as you prepare well, do research in advance, be confident, and follow up thoroughly, you are already ahead of the game. Don’t forget to register for the Just in time career & internship fair on PCO to practice these tips.