An on-campus job fair is an excellent way to find a position in your field. Job fairs usually have dozens of employers in one place, allowing them to efficiently meet and interview potential employees, while providing students with an opportunity to search for a job that’s suited to them. Be prepared to talk to and interview with company representatives with these tips.
Research the Companies
When companies come to college campuses to meet students, they’re often looking for people who are studying different disciplines and who will have varying skill sets. An accounting firm will be looking for students who are planning to become accountants, of course, but they may also be looking for those who have an interest in sales.
You should take some time to research each company, note the majors that they’re looking for, and then see if you could meet their needs. Create a list of the companies that you’d like to learn about and then go to their websites. Read about each of them and start preparing a list of questions that you’d like to ask them.
Create a Tailored Resume (or Two)
Now that you know what companies you’d like to visit, you can create some general resumes that are appropriate to each employer. You should have a few different resumes for the various job titles that you’re considering. For example, if Companies A and B are looking for a systems designer and Companies C and D are looking for a program engineer, and you’re qualified for both positions, write separate resumes for each.
While you may be able to submit your resume online prior to the job fair, be sure to make many copies of all of your resumes to carry with you, since employers may want to glance at your resume as they talk to you. Having a scanner-friendly resume on hand (one that uses appropriate keywords to find good candidates) is also a good idea. You can’t be too prepared when walking into a job fair, so be sure that all of your resumes are professional and error-free. It’s helpful to take advantage of resume-writing workshops at your university’s Career Services Center to produce a polished resume.
Prepare for Interviews
Once company representatives have met you and looked at your resume, they may want to set up a quick on-site interview. You should be ready to talk about your resume, your educational background, and your internship experiences. Students should be comfortable answering questions, and the best preparation for an interview is to practice, practice, practice. RMU offers interview preparation services for all students. A career counselor will conduct and videotape a mock interview and then offer some feedback and instruction.
Look the Part
Although a job fair is less formal than an on-site visit for a company interview, be sure to dress professionally, just as you would for an on-site interview. For men, that means a pressed gray, navy, or charcoal suit with a conservative tie. For women, that means a classic suit, hose, and little jewelry. And don’t forget to turn off your cell phone and place it securely in your briefcase or portfolio.
Make a Plan
You will only have so much time at the job fair, so divide the list of companies into “must visit” and “hope to visit.” If a company is a close match to your skills, be sure that they’re on the must-visit list. However, be open to companies that may not be on your original list. If it’s your dream to work for a non-profit, don’t pass up private companies or government agencies. First, you’ll welcome the experience to talk to and interview employers, and second, you never know what kind of opportunities you many find. Your marketing internship at a non-profit company could be very interesting to someone who is recruiting in public administration.
Follow Up Is Important
Immediately after the job fair, write your impressions of each employer that you visited and what you liked about each. You’ll use that information to write a thank-you letter to each company, using this opportunity to tell them why you’re qualified for the position and listing some specific points that you discussed with the representative.
Robert Morris University graduates have at least a 93% placement rate each year. We host several job fairs and on-campus recruiting events every year, and our Career Service department is available to help student look for the perfect job. Call or contact us today to learn more.