It’s the beginning of the autumn semester here at the Fisher College of Business and that means recruiting season for both undergraduate and graduate students is underway. For many, this is an opportunity to land an internship or full-time position and there is no better way to get your foot in the door with employers than to utilize the networking events and career fairs happening on campus. As a student currently going through the recruiting process, I understand that preparing for a career fair can seem like a daunting task and it may be difficult to know where to start.
Whether you are a potential or current student at Ohio State or a student attending another university here are my pro tips to help you successfully tackle any Career Fair.
Research, Research, Research
Find a list of employers that will be attending the career fair through your university’s handshake (or similar platform) so that you can identify the companies you are interested in. Next research each company’s website, job positions, recent news, and company culture. This will come in handy when you speak with employers about their organization as well as help identify if the company may be a good fit for you. Trust me, companies will recognize pretty quickly if you decide to skip this step.
Extra Pro Tip: If you really want to impress employers, be proactive and apply to these companies prior to attending. It will show them you are prepared and they will take you more seriously as a prospective candidate.
Prep Your Resume
Although I would recommend to always have your resume updated, I especially encourage you to prep it weeks prior to the career fair. This will allow you to have your resume critiqued by your Career Management Office and implement the feedback given to you in a timely manner. Schedule this appointment in advance because this timeframe is typically when the offices are busiest and timeslots will fill up fast. It may seem like everything is electronic these days, but be prepared and bring a handful of paper copies with you to the career fair just in case. If you want to add a special touch, go to the nearest print shop and make these copies on resume paper for about 20 cents a sheet.
Dress for Success
A career fairs dress code is almost always business professional so plan your outfit accordingly and pick out what you are going to wear the day before to avoid unwanted stress the day of. There may be individuals assigned to monitor the dress code so take this seriously. If you are unsure what business professional is, check out this article for reference.
Practice Your Impression
Did you know that a first impression is made within the first seven seconds of meeting someone? No pressure right? The best way to take the nerves away from this is to simply practice. This can be done with friends, family, or peers until you feel confident enough to approach employers. Practice introducing yourself and what you are going to say. This is introduction is often considered your “pitch“, which should be between 30-60 seconds. When doing this don’t forget to practice approaching employers with a smile and a firm handshake.
The last and most important thing that you can do to be successful is to be yourself. This is not only true when talking with employers but anything you pursue in life. This journey is too short to not be who you are and ultimately you want to end up at a company where you feel comfortable with the individuals and the environment around you.
While these tips may seem small in nature if you put in the effort to complete them it can have a big impact on whether or not you have a successful career fair experience. Although the Fisher Fall Career Fair has already occurred, there are still a number of networking events and career fairs happening on campus throughout the 2018-2019 school year. Thank you for reading and I hope you find these tips useful in your future endeavors.