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Working the College Job Fair

by Staff Writers

One of the advantages of being a part of a university community is having access to career fairs where large numbers of job recruiters come to you to scout out potential employees, rather than you searching endlessly for them after you graduate. Career fairs are a great chance to familiarize yourself with various industries and to learn about what opportunities are available to you after college, whether you are certain of your career path or have no clue what you will do after college. Here, we will discuss some effective tactics for working your next career fair.

If registration for your college’s career fair is available, be sure to do it promptly. Some career fairs are two-day affairs, so you should make sure you are available to attend both days. After all, some employers are only able to spare a career representative for one day. When you register, familiarize yourself with the employers that will be attending by skimming any list posted by your university. Highlight any that are particularly eye-catching so you can be sure to stop at that particular booth.

Before you enter the career fair, have a brief statement prepared to describe your skills and strengths in a nutshell. Career representatives will be speaking with many, many students and will not always want to hear you monologue your entire resume. Speaking of your resume, you should definitely bring a small stack of them, updated and ready to give to any representative that requests one, along with a portfolio of any work that demonstrates your skills. You may even want to carry a copy of your resume and portfolio on a flash drive for easy transfer, as many recruiters will request that students apply online.

You will also want to have some questions prepared for career representatives, such as "What type of degree do you accept for a position at your company?" or "What do you look for in candidates for this position?" Do not waste precious time with career representatives for jobs you are not interested in; politely decline to engage in conversation with them. If you’re not sure about a job, wait until they are speaking with someone else, then quickly snag a brochure and step away so you can decide how interested you are in the job before approaching them.

Finally, any student who is taking a career fair seriously should dress professionally, as one would for an interview. Business casual attire, a smile and a solid handshake are the best way to make a good impression on potential employers.