Recruiting fairs are abundant with chances to learn about the many opportunities available after you finish school. Many times, recruiting fairs even have opportunities such as internships or summer jobs that you can take advantage of before you graduate. How do you prepare to get the most out of a career fair? What should you bring to a recruiting fair?
Extra Copies of Your Resume
Depending on the size of the recruiting fair, you will need 20-40 copies of your resume. A good rule of thumb is to research the fair on your Career Fair Plus app to estimate how many recruiters you want to visit, then double that number. It's better to have a few too many copies of your resume than not enough.
Target Resumes for Each Career Option
Your resume should look professional and highlight your knowledge, skills, and abilities. If you are thinking about two or more career opportunities, write targeted resumes for each option. For example, you may be looking for an internship over the semester break and a permanent job for when you graduate. Although the resumes will be similar, you can adjust the objectives and other features accordingly. Print each type of resume on slightly different colored (white and cream) paper so you can tell them apart quickly. Learn more about How to Write a Targeted Resume.
Information about the Organizations
Take time to read about the organizations that are attending the recruiting event on your Career Fair Plus app. Prioritize the companies you are most interested in, then gather more information from the company website and Glassdoor.com. If the recruiter gives an option to send a resume or register for an appointment, do so at least a day before the career fair. Identify how your education and skills match the organization's need, then write a list of questions to ask the recruiter. Make more questions than you'll have time for so that you have a couple left to ask in the thank you note you send afterward.
Energy and Enthusiasm
Sleep well the night before the recruiting fair so that you have energy. Walking around a large event can be nerve-wracking, so you'll need all the energy you have to look refreshed and enthusiastic. If you attend the event later in the day, the company recruiters may be tired, so don't be discouraged if they don't seem enthusiastic. It doesn't mean they aren't interested. Be polite and show you are interested. If it seems appropriate, offer to fetch a bottle of water or cup of coffee for the recruiter. Don't overdo it, but a small act of kindness can be powerful.
Your Smart Phone
Put it on silent, but do bring your Smart Phone. You'll need it to review the information you saved on recruiters and the questions you want to ask. Ideally, you won't need to look at your phone while you are talking to the recruiter, but definitely, do not type while you are talking. Even if you are taking legitimate notes, it looks like you are texting. Give the recruiter your full attention and type notes in afterward. Also, take a picture of the recruiter's business card right after you meet so that you can send a thank-you email.
Emergency Change of Clothing
Prepare an emergency bag with a change of professional clothing to leave in the car or your room. You probably won't need them, but if someone spills coffee on your best shirt or a zipper jams, you'll have a plan in place. Clean and iron your emergency change of clothing at the same time you prepare the rest of your wardrobe. If you don't need it, then you'll be ready for your next interview or recruiting fair.
These are great tips to start preparing for a recruiting fair. For more ideas, read our blog article 5 Things to Know Before You Attend a Job Fair.