10 Tips to Help College Girls Get Career-Fair Ready

by Guest Post on June 7, 2011
10 Tips to Help College Girls Get Career-Fair Ready

Guest Post by Abby Marcinko, University of Georgia

For me, career fairs are like those uncomfortable family reunions that your parents make you attend. You don’t know any of your extended family, your grandma always has that oddly distinct smell and you never can figure out your Great Aunt’s mystery meat. So you whine a little and beg your parents not to make you go, but deep down you know that you should go. Somehow these things always end up being fun and, at times, even surprisingly beneficial.

The great thing about being in college is any good university career center organizes a job fair once every semester — or at least once a year. Like that family reunion, the idea of attending a career fair might be a little uncomfortable initially, but the fair is a great opportunity to interact with prospective companies and network with professionals as you look for a job or internship.

The key to making the most of your career fair experience? Come prepared.

Here are my top 10 tips for helping any college girl ensure she is prepared to make the most of her next career fair:

  1. Come armed with copies of your resume. Make sure that you bring 10-12 copies of your resume, printed on resume paper. Go to your nearest office supply store and get the good stuff! While you are there, pick up a professional portfolio for carrying your resumes.
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  3. Try to leave your purse in the car. It is just one more thing that you will have to carry around. If you do bring it, place it on your left arm because you will always reach with your right arm to shake hands with the people you meet (your nametag should be on your right-hand shoulder.)
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  5. Don’t wear any perfume but do wear deodorant. There are a lot of people at career fairs, so it can get a little toasty in the space where the career fair is being held. As things heat up, the scent of many perfumes can become quite unappealing. Don’t take any chances. Forego the perfume and wear a strong antiperspirant.
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  7. Do your research beforehand. Learn about the companies that are attending. Research products and services, industry standings, target markets, competitors, numbers of employees and industry trends. You can use the notepad in your portfolio to keep notes, and representatives will be happy to see that you have shown an interest in the company and done your research in advance.
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  9. Identify your top three to five employers. Then work your way backwards from your number five to your number one. You will probably be nervous when you first arrive, so you want to practice before you speak with the representative from your favorite company.
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  11. Be prepared with your approach. When you approach a company’s representative, tell them your name, major, degree level and graduation date. Tell them what you think you could offer the company. (This is where your research comes in!)
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  13. Ask thoughtful questions. Some good examples include questions about travel opportunities, the hiring projections and industry trends.
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  15. Don’t ask nosy questions. Remember that the company representatives have been standing there all day, so questions concerning their background may be inappropriate. Also avoid asking what jobs they are offering and what the salary is—these  should be questions only the employer brings up.
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  17. Make sure to write “thank you” notes. Be sure to grab the representative’s business card, so that you can write the appropriate thank you notes. They don’t have to be handwritten, as email is also suitable. Just make sure there is proper and timely follow-up.
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  19. Most of all – be confident. Going to career fairs can be scary, but they are new to everyone and can be really helpful and beneficial to finding a great job. Don’t let your fear stop you from going!

 

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Have your own tips to share to help other college girls get career-fair ready? Add them in the comments!

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2 Comments »

  1. Mike — June 14, 2011 @ 2:28 pm

    All good tips, particularly tip 10. The people that seem to get a good response from the company reps at job fairs are the ones that are good at selling themselves, appear to be confident, and look energetic.

  2. Shannon — June 14, 2011 @ 2:48 pm

    Hey Mike,

    Thanks for stopping by and for leaving a comment. It sounds like you’ve had some experience at job fairs. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on Abby’s 10 tips and for confirming #10. Maybe it should be listed as #1!

    Keep it real,
    Shannon

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