When you apply for your first full-time job after graduation, you will be competing against a very large number of other recent graduates, plus experienced workers who have been recently let go or are changing career fields.  Don’t let this discourage you, though; let it motivate you to stand out from the crowd!

Career Fairs are the best opportunity you can find to make connections face to face with recruiters who make hiring decisions. In order to make the most of those connections, your first impression needs to make a memorable impact on the recruiter.  A bit of preparation for your recruiter conversations will help you maximize your time, feel confident, and make a good impression at the event.

Here are some ways to do just that:

  • Visit http://nolacareerfairs.org/students/attending.html to find a list of employers attending the fair.  Use LinkedIn, Glassdoor.com, and Google to research the companies you are interested in speaking with. By doing so you’ll learn about each company’s industry and a bit about the culture and current events. By knowing more about the company you’ll be able to communicate in a clear and knowledgeable fashion and present yourself in a way that relates to the needs of the company.
  • Jot down questions you plan to ask and review them the night before the event.
  • Think of questions you may be asked and what your answers will be. For example, “Why would you like to work at ABC Company?” or “How does your experience relate to our needs at XYZ Industries?” or “Tell me a bit about your background and experience.”
  • Prepare a 30 second elevator pitch about yourself, your strengths, experience and accomplishments.  This will help you introduce yourself to recruiters in a confident and self-assured manner.

You’ve shown the recruiters that you’re serious about finding a career. You dressed professionally for the event, prepared your questions, and you were enthusiastic and polite. Remember that there are many people at the event, so you need to be sensitive to the time spent with each recruiter. Once you’ve delivered your message, answered questions, and established your interest in the position it is time to thank the recruiter, get a business card and state that you will follow up.

For the positions where you have genuine interest and saw a fit with your skills and experience, send a follow up email to the recruiter within 24 hours saying that you enjoyed meeting them and learning more about their company and would like the opportunity to move the process forward. You can also connect with recruiters on LinkedIn.  If there were companies that did not have a job that was right for you but you have interest in other positions in the company you can follow up and ask the recruiter for another contact in the organization.

Remember, each event is an opportunity to make connections: for an open job, to another recruiter in the company that handles your area of expertise, or even with other people attending the event. You’ve made the effort to get out there, so make the most of each meeting!

Let the Career Development Center Help You!

  • Visit the Career Development Center (2nd Floor, Danna Student Center) during our Rapid Resume Review hours: Monday, February 27th, 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM.
  • http://studentaffairs.loyno.edu/careershas lots of information to help you get prepared for the big day! 

Kudos to www.nationalcareerfairs.com/ for assisting with material for this blog post.

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