Understanding What A Career Fair Really Is and Some Basic Tips
First and foremost, the reason why many students fail to utilize a career fair to its fullest extent is that they don’t appreciate the time and effort it took their school and university personnel to organize the event. I deal with human resource individuals all the time and, I can tell you first hand that they firmly know and recognize the fact that they control certain facets of an unemployment rate that, subsequently will be studied in your son or daughter’s economic classes 20 years from now.
Regarding human resource personnel, most don’t appear controlling and they are good people, however they have more influence than they would have say 15 years ago. It would be naïve of them not to recognize this fact. Even on a level playing field, selling HR people is not an easy thing.
Recognize that although this took place on the backend, it still took place and someone who works at the school made the call and, to an extent, vouched for you. Also, understand that if this event was organized for professionals 50 and over, lines to get in to the conference would consist of hundreds upon hundreds of unemployed, yet talented people. I’m more than happy to be cited as a source of reference as to the aforementioned statement.
Therefore, go into a career fair knowing that if you show up unprepared or with your suit wrinkled, you are making the faculty look bad and making yourself look even worse. If you’re not going to give it your all, it is best to stay home. This is not meant to be harsh, it is just what it is. The last thing you want to do is go to a career fair only to find the company that you want to work for and not be 100% upon an initial introduction.
The world is not going to end if you miss out on a career fair. Just like actors will turn down an audition if they don’t have a monologue, if you don’t have your corporate pitch, etc. down, don’t audition.
Showing appreciation for being able to attend an event that many don’t have the means to go to, is the first step to success and hard work. You know the saying about not throwing food away? There are parallels. If you appreciate the fact that you are be given the ability to present yourself in front of numerous companies, you will work hard. Let the above factors drive you a little bit. With that information in mind, hopefully you will also heed the following advice.
Pick Your Targets – You Can’t Be Everything to Everyone
Let’s say that you are a potential employer (put yourself in their shoes for a moment), would you likely pursue the student that is only seeking select employers in a matching industry or for a matching job or would you like the student who is wondering around to every employer, having a two minute chat, then moving on?
There is absolutely no reason to speak to every potential employer there; there is absolutely every reason to do research on every employer that is going to attend. If you have all of your research done, then you can pick the companies that you want to approach based on things like your perception of their corporate culture, how friendly they appear and whether or not the employee of the firm wants to be at the event.
Most will, but you never know. Therefore, if on target does not seem as appealing as they did on paper, you can go to your next target instead of just hovering around. Simply “being present” at one of these fairs is the equivalent of being at the 7th grade dance and sitting on the bleachers.