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Career Advice - Working a Career Fair

Image courtesy of the School of Communication

By: Jade Anderson, Rambler Buzz Staff Writer

Spring semester is here and many of you will spend the semester trying to track down the perfect internship or full-time position. To assist, Rambler Buzz, with a lot of help from the Career Development Center, is launching a new series on career advice! Several times throughout the semester we will be highlighting the essential tips you need to land your dream job or internship.

Our first piece below focuses on how to get yourself noticed (in a positive way!) at the upcoming career fairs. "Career fairs are one of the few times you'll see employers actively trying to recruit students," says Martin A. Gahbauer, MEd, assistant director and employer relations and recruiting coordinator for the Career Development Center. "The ideal goal is to get a job, but another important thing you get out of it is networking. In a regular economy, over 80 percent of jobs are obtained through networking so it's even more important now. A lot of recruiters know each other. One recruiter might not have the job for you, but he/she may know someone who will." To get you started on the right path, Gahbauer has provided six tips on how to best utilize your time at career fairs.

How to Be Utterly Irresistible at Job and Internship Fairs 

  1. Research the top five companies you’re most interested in
    When looking for information, start with the company’s website, next Google, and then check out Hoovers or Crain’s. Make a list of questions to ask recruiters that shows you did your homework.

  2. Practice your introduction
    Approach all recruiters with confidence. Give them a firm handshake, make eye contact, smile, and then introduce yourself. Make sure to cover your major, your skills, any related projects you’ve done, and what you’re looking for. 

  3. Check your resume... then check it again!
    Make sure your resume is in tip-top shape. An ideal resume is one page, free of typos, in 11- or 12-point font of either Arial or Times New Roman, and printed on white or cream paper.

  4. Dress the part
    If you’re going to act the part, then you have to look the part. Wear a shirt/blouse with nice pants and a pair of dark dress shoes. Avoid any flashy jewelry or revealing clothing that will take away from employers paying attention to your skills and qualifications.

  5. Do a test run with a few companies
    Practice your introduction on a few companies you are somewhat interested in to work out the kinks before you approach your top choices. Employers tend to observe candidates as they are talking to other companies, so make sure you’re consistent. 

  6. Follow up
    After the fair, organize all the material you received. Write and send out thank you letters to recruiters within 24 hours and make sure your letters highlight how you would be a good fit. 

For more on how the Career Development Center can help you throughout your job search, click here.