As school is starting, all college seniors are starting to plan and think, “What’s next?” I think about this question all the time. How do I take that next step in my life? Where do I begin? Going through the job interview process is very difficult and stressful. Career fairs are a great opportunity to practice your interview skills or even land you a job. They can provide many benefits if you know how to prepare and how to take action.
Going to career fairs can seem like a tedious task to most college students, but there are so many benefits to take advantage of. Career fairs give you the opportunity to network with many employers, whether these employers are in your field or a different one. These resources and meeting employers allows you to practice and develop your interview skills. It’s a perfect time to practice your elevator pitch and get immediate feedback on it. You never know what could happen as a result of attending career fairs; there’s a high possibility you could land yourself a job. Even if that doesn’t happen, networking allows you to get your name out there and make a lasting impression on potential future employers.
How to Prepare
I would highly recommend preparing for a career fair. Showing up to an employer’s booth and not having anything prepared is a big mistake. A couple pieces of advice I would give you is to prepare answers for interview questions, practice your elevator pitch, bring copies of your updated resume, and dress professionally. Going to a career fair is exactly like going into an interview. Prepare, bring your resume, and dress for success. Employers notice these things as you are presenting yourself and your skills. Make sure to present yourself in a manner that makes a positive impact.
Now that the career fair is over, what do you do next? First, make sure your LinkedIn profile is up-to-date and polished. This will make your profile stand out. Follow the company and their recruiter on LinkedIn. Maintain that connection and continue to reach out to them. These people can open you up to so many job opportunities and new, beneficial connections. Reflect on the experience you had at the career fair. Is there anything can I improve on? What skills did I develop? Can I take action to better improve these skills? Take advantage of what you learned and build on it.
Career fair season is approaching and it’s never too early to start preparing. What you want to get out of career fairs is all up to you. If it sounds better to simply stay home and avoid awkward encounters, I challenge you to re-evaluate and step outside your comfort zone. What are you waiting for? Build your network!