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Prepare for a Fair!

Career fairs can help narrow a job search or even serve as the first step in landing a position. They can also feel overwhelming and waste your time if you aren’t prepared. Follow these 10 steps to get the most out of this fall’s fair lineup.

  1. Pre-register if it’s offered. Just putting yourself on the list of attendees may get your name in front of a potential employer before the crowd rolls in.
  2. Research. Find out what companies will be at the event and what jobs or internships they have open. Make a list, preferably ranked, of companies you’re interested in. Check out their websites and run a quick search for relevant news. Know what they do, their products or services, and at least the basics about their industries.
  3. Plan who you’re going to visit, perhaps even in order, rather than wandering aimlessly. Just having an agenda will make you feel less intimidated or overwhelmed. *Tip: Start by visiting companies that interest you less, in order to work through any nervousness or rough spots in your introduction or questions.
  4. Practice introducing yourself – not simply, “Hi, my name is… ” but a few short, informative phrases that summarize your education or experience and interest. This is your elevator pitch.
  5. Prepare questions. Having a few good questions in your pocket gives you something crucial: a conversation starter. Even if you don’t have burning questions about a company, you’ll usually end up learning something that makes you more or less interested – either way, good data. Examples: How much mentoring or on-the-job training is offered? What growth opportunities are available? What is the company’s culture like?
  6. Anticipate questions you might be asked in an impromptu interview and decide on your answers. If you don’t have to scramble for a response to common interview questions, you can focus on being yourself, making eye contact, and having a more natural conversation.
  7. Bring several printed copies of your resume (that you have proofread!).
  8. Dress well, typically in business casual.
  9. Take business cards from those you talk with and make some notes when you leave. Jot down what sparked your interest, who you connected with, what you talked about, so that you can reference that when you…
  10. Follow up with a thank you email within 24 hours!

ODG plans to participate in numerous career fairs this fall. Check out the schedule and please stop by to talk with us!