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Overwhelmed and nervous about the upcoming career fair? Not to worry—start early and make sure you're ready to put your best foot forward. Here's a checklist of tasks you'll need to accomplish before you arrive at any career fair:
- Résumé — Do you have a well-crafted résumé ready to hand to recruiters? No—start making a list of all your college accomplishments, activities you're involved in, skills you're good at, and then add dates and descriptions. If you already have a résumé—make sure at least 2-3 people review it before submitting it to companies. First impressions matter and a typo on your résumé will not look good.
- Elevator Speech — How will you introduce yourself to recruiters at the fair? Make a good first impression! Craft a 30-second speech explaining who you are, what you're looking to accomplish, and how you'd be a valuable asset to the team. Practice this speech before the fair to anyone and everyone!!
- Company Research — Which companies will you talk to at the fair? With more than 100 companies in attendance, you will not have time to speak with every one. Pick your top choices, second-tier choices, and third-tier choices. Research all of these companies through LinkedIn, their own websites and social media pages, Google, and more. What is their mission statement and core values, who do they hire, what projects are they working on? If you mention these in-depth insights at the fair, they'll be impressed with your research!
- Professional Outfit — Do you have a nice suit and tie? Ladies, what about a Blazer and slacks or a conservative dress? Go through your closet and start trying-on outfits. Are things too tight, short or loud? Time to head to the store! Go for black or dark gray basics, then add a small pop of color—small—you don't want the recruiter to be distracted by your Hawaiian shirt instead of paying attention to what you have to say.
- Getting to the Fair — Make sure you know where the fair is located, how to get there, and how much time to allow for travel. Is there a shuttle or will you have to walk? If you have a 60-minute window to get to the fair between classes but you have to take a shuttle to get to the event, you need to have a best course of action.
- Mock Interview — What if you land an interview after the fair? If you make a good impression, most companies will engage in an interview right there at the fair! Or you could be called to interview the very next morning. Make sure you're ready for the interview by participating in a Mock Interview.
- Pre/Post Events — Often times, with hundreds of recruiters and companies in town for the fair, Employer Info Sessions occur the day before or the day-of, once the event is finished. Keep up to date with which companies are holding these info sessions — it's a great way to meet with recruiters in a small, intimate setting, and allows you, once again, to introduce yourself. If they remember you, they're more likely to hire you!