by Emily Sizemore, MBA, Student Affairs Specialist at Chamberlain University
Attending a career fair, in particular your first career fair, can be a daunting task. Selling yourself can be uncomfortable, especially in a digital format. However, doing so successfully can help you gain contacts in your industry, learn insider tips about landing an interview and potentially help lead to a job!
It’s important to understand the “big prize” is making meaningful connections through networking. Career fairs are enormously beneficial for employers attending. This is an opportunity for them to meet great job candidates as well as gain exposure for their organization. They want to be there and they want to speak to you! So, be confident and show the employer you are a strong candidate.
To get the most out of a career fair:
- Create a list of your targeted employers and do your research about the facility and their applicable job openings.
- Make sure to do your research about where the virtual event is being hosted. Read the instructions carefully and watch any available video tutorials.
- Make sure you have typed out a strong “elevator pitch,” which gives a brief overview of your relevant background and skills related to the position of interest.
- I encourage career fair goers to start with an employer on their “B” list. This will help you gain an understanding of the conversation flow, make improvements and help you gain confidence before you speak to your ideal organization.
Generally, you will not walk away from a career fair with a job offer. Your goal is to gain connections. Get names and email addresses of recruiters so you can find them on LinkedIn, follow up via email, and/or reference them in a cover letter. Ask questions when speaking to the recruiters about the position, company culture, what they are looking for in a candidate, and how to secure a job interview. If you leave that fair with contacts, and leave your targeted employers with a lasting impression of you, then you have earned the “big prize!”
Having proper expectations for a career fair is critical. If you approach an employer hoping to get a job offer or interview scheduled, you can come off as inexperienced and desperate, leaving you disappointed. However, if you approach employers hoping to gain a contact or learn about the application process, you will present yourself as a prepared, confident candidate. Your goal is make those connections and to leave with valuable insight that will increase your odds of getting that job interview!
View upcoming Chamberlain Career Fairs in CareerCare. The CareerCare Navigation Guide includes steps on accessing CareerCare and viewing events.
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