This is the season for career fairs on college campuses and also employment and job fairs sponsored by specific employer groups and industry representatives. It is essential to have a current resume focused on the skills you bring to a potential employer in specific internship programs and positions. Your resume is your chance to make your best and first impression. A resume based on skills and competencies rather than one organized by employment history is highly recommended. Make sure you have had another set of eyes proofread your resume. Any error is sadly likely to land you in the rejection pile, as typos show a lack of attention to detail. In preparation for the career fair, in addition to preparing your resume, take the time to review the employers who will be in attendance. If available to you, aim to contact recruiters prior to the day of the career fair to express your interest in the organization and to arrange a meeting time. You should also take time to prepare your road show; that is a one to three minute introduction highlighting your best and most valued assets. You might also have an opportunity to make a similar introduction at meet-and-greets sponsored by specific organizations the day or evening before the actual campus job fair. Sell yourself! What do you bring to a potential employer? How can you stand apart from the hundreds of others names and faces a recruiter will be facing? By doing your homework and being selective about the organizations you decide to approach at a career / campus job fair, you’re making sure that you maximize the chances of a good fit between you and potential organizations and positions. Take steps to keep the process moving forward. After the employment fair, and preferably within 48 hours, send a follow-up note to any recruiters you spoke with in positions that you genuinely felt were a good fit. Tell them about specific on-the-job experiences you have had and/or projects completed at school that demonstrate the skills you have which might be valued by the employer. Remember to note something sincere and which will jog the recruiter’s memory about the potentially short and rushed conversation you experienced at the career fair. Refer to materials about the organization and connect yourself to the organization’s goals. We can help you with resumes, cover letters and preparing for career fairs and subsequent job interviews and salary negotiations.
Bonnie R. Rabin, Ph.D. is the founder and principal educational consultant of College Career Consulting, LLC. She has over 30 years of experience as a university faculty member and shares her knowledge, professional resources and support with students who are ready to advance their lifelong educational and career journeys.