Put on Your Professional Face: Career Fair Do’s and Don’ts

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By Melissa Shapiro > Sophomore > Communication > University of Maryland
 
College mag put together a few tips to ensure you make the most out of your career fair experience.

 

 


Resume
DO: Bring your resume to your school’s career center to have it reviewed, or use guidelines from your university’s website and ask a peer to proofread the final draft.
DON’T: Go beyond one page. Key information should be seen all at once.
DO: Highlight key points that show your unique experience.

Appearance
DO: Wear business casual, advises Suzanne Helbig, the Assistant Director of Counseling and Marketing at the UC Berkeley Career Center. However, “employers realize that you are running from class to class. If you are not wearing business casual, don’t let that prevent you from going. It’s not a deal breaker,” she says.
DON’T: Look messy, unprofessional or inappropriate. Steer clear of controversial graphic tees and Daisy Duke shorts.

Preparation
DON’T: Bring a cover letter. “You are the cover letter! You get to introduce yourself and do the job of a cover letter,” Helbig says.
DO: Your homework. Sign up early and research the companies you are interested in before attending. During your conversation with the company representative, throw in a sentence that references something that you learned during your research.
DON’T: Say “I looked at your website.” Show them, do not tell them. You should avoid saying, “tell me about your organization.” It proves that you have not done your homework.

At the Career Fair
DO: Have a 30 second ‘commercial’ ready. Include an introduction, why you are interested and what you bring to the table.
DON’T: Approach your top choices first. Go to less desirable booths first in order to get comfortable with the process.
DO: Take a few notes after each station. Record certain points that will help you remember the representative you spoke with and what was discussed.

Overall
DO: Always send a thank you note. According to Helbig, it is best to follow up 24 to 48 hours after a fair. She said, “Make sure to include a highlight from your conversation with the representative and inquire about the next steps you should take in order to continue communication.” An email is great, but consider sending a hand-written or typed note (if your handwriting isn’t fabulous) via snail mail to the companies you are most interested in.
DON’T: Assume you are too young or inexperienced to attend a career fair. Underclassmen should attend. It is never too early to start networking; the more connections you have, the better.
DO: Take the opportunity to get yourself out there. Even if the positions you are looking for are not advertised, a representative may forward your resume on to another department.

Image courtesy of canton.edu.

 


College Magazine Staff

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