Corporate recruiters spend weeks (and in some cases, months) traveling from career fair-to-career fair each fall. Some recruiters will have already met hundreds of students and potential employees by the time they step inside the Classic Center on the morning of Wednesday, September 21st. You can count on this number to rise dramatically over the course of the UGA Career Fair day as well. To help you stand out, the CDIs have put together a blog series to help prepare you get noticed by the companies you are most interested in. Follow us as we journey through researching companies, preparing to interact with employers, choosing professional attire, making final preparations and following up with employers after the fair is over!
The Wrong Way
In 2009, a wide-eyed bubbly freshman walked inside the Career Fair wearing a pair of Nike sneakers, bright pink running shorts and a Kofi on her head. To her surprise, she saw a sea of employers and professional dressed students everywhere. Looking down at her own outfit, she definitely felt out of place.
Her thought: “The career fair is not a formal interview and I don’t want to be overdressed.”
Right thought: “I should present myself in the best possible way because I only have one chance to make a first impression. Generally speaking, it’s always better to be too dressy than underdressed.”
Seeing a booth displaying Turner Broadcasting, the freshman quickly walked towards the table to become the 31st person in line. She had no idea Turner would be attending, and she definitely wanted to learn about their internship opportunities. It was noon and her next class began at 2:15pm.
Her thought: “This line should move by fast and I will have plenty of time after to visit other employers before my next class.”
Right thought: “I should search Dawglink to identify which employers are attending the career fair ahead of time. Then I can allot enough time to visit the ones I am most interested in.”
After an hour had past she had yet to reach the front of the table. She spots another employer and decides to use her time efficiently by asking the 32nd person in line to save her spot while she “uses the restroom.” She reaches the other employers table, to find it is a company she has never heard of. The employer shakes her hand and asks one question, “Tell me about yourself.”
Her thought: “I should tell as much about myself as I can, I mean I waited this long to talk to somebody, right?”
Right thought: “I will explain my career goals and how they align with the position I am interested in at this corporation. I will state my full name, major, graduation date, highlight a few experiences that are applicable to that company/position and why I am interested in working for them. I will prove that I have done my research and am passionate about working for them.”
As she makes her way back to the line, she sees other employers that she is interested in. If only she brought more copies of her resume, she will be able to hand them out to the employers. Instead, she quickly picks up their business cards and places them in her backpack.
Her thought: “I can just fill out an application online and submit a resume then.”
Right thought: “I will take advantage of the opportunity to personally meet and submit my resume to a recruiter. I have had my resume critiqued at the Career Center, printed it on resume paper and brought at least 20 copies with me. I will be sure to collect business cards to send follow-up thank you emails later in the day.”
She returns in line to find out the 32nd person in line is already talking to the recruiter at the table.
Her thought: “Awww man”
Right thought: “Awww man!”
Take it from me, you do not want to be like this freshman and have “her thoughts” running through your head at the career fair. Take the time to prepare your resume (and have it critiqued!), choose a professional outfit and do your research before stepping foot into the Classic Center. This truly is an incredible chance to network and land the job or internship of your dreams!