The Career Fair: Tons of companies, eager recruiters and thousands of students competing for the very same job opportunities you’re interested in. How do you set yourself apart from the rest of the crowd?
Bring Your Résumé As Backup: Yes, some companies today require candidates to apply online so that their applicant tracking system (ATS) has all your information in compliance with government regulations. However, even after you apply online, it’s still a good idea to take your résumé. Use it as a follow up tool. Don’t forget to let them know that you’ve already applied online!
Dress for Success: In other words, suit up! Treat the career fair like an interview (several companies will be interviewing onsite) and wear appropriate clothing. Recruiters will know that you’re serious and could see you working for their company. If you’re going to a career fair on your college campus, I’d still recommend business professional dress. It’s likely that you’ll stand out (in a good way) among all the other students wearing shorts, flip-flops, sweatpants, etc.
The Handshake: Do you have a friend or family member that has a crushing handshake? How about that friend that just dangles their hand out there so you can shake it? A firm, commanding (yet kind) handshake is very important. Look them in their eyes, smile and introduce yourself as “hi, I’m (insert name)” and shake their hand with a firm grip that doesn’t crush, nor feel like a limp noodle. Two seconds is more than enough time to hold on.
Communicate Your Career Aspirations: Know what you want? Tell the recruiter! Let them know that you’ve done the research on their company’s culture, history and career opportunities AND where you feel you’d be the best fit within. Take this chance to speak briefly what you feel you can bring to the company and how you’re going to be part of their success. NOTE: There’s a balance when doing this. You want to appear humble, not entitled or arrogant.
Don’t really know what you want yet? That’s okay. Use this opportunity to learn more about the company and interact with the recruiters to build future relationships.