What''s a career fair? A career fair is a place where employers and job seekers can come together to talk about internship and job opportunities. A fair consists of employers at individual tables, staffed by human resource professionals who focus on recruiting, employees of different divisions, and, often, university alumni who are working there. Employers can speak to positions they are currently recruiting for, the application and interview process, and answer broader questions about the company. Why should I go? By attending a career fair, you can walk away with industry and organization knowledge, information to enhance your resume or cover letter, a contact to follow up with, and sometimes an interview. You also benefit the employer by putting a face to your resume! Depending on where you are in your education and career, you might attend the career fair for a unique reason. A first year student might attend to learn about different careers and organizations. An experienced career changer might attend to have the opportunity to share your story face to face. A sophomore or junior might attend to speak directly to employers at organizations offering internship opportunities. A senior might attend because you applied to a position at an organization and want the opportunity to make a personal connection or find out who the best person might be to follow up with. Unequivocally, a career fair gives you a special chance to make a personal connection with a few employers at organizations that you hope to work for now or in the future and get answers to questions that you can’t find online. How do I get ready for a career fair? Start with Research: Identify organizations that interest you. • Research 3-7 companies through their career pages, LinkedIn, Glassdoor.com, Vault guides, Google search, Twitter and/or trade publications. • Check LionSHARE for internship/job postings from the company. • Prepare questions or comments about the company or positions that interest you. • If you have limited time, spend more time on preparation for your top choices. Then, prepare your introduction: Take some time to think about what makes you a good fit for the role you are pursuing, Write out what you want the employer to remember about you. Be ready with a self-introduction, focusing on your experience and interests. What should I wear? Why do I have to dress up? Career fairs have dress codes, so always be sure to check the fair web site for guidance on what to wear. Even if you are targeting companies that are casual (e.g. start-up or tech), still wear a professional outfit in line with recommendations. While some employers may dress informally, they understand that there is a dress code for attendees, and that as a general rule candidates are more formally dressed for networking and the interview process than they will be on the job. Professional, neat dress helps to communicate that you are serious about the organization and the possibility of working there. Remember, if you need a suit for a professional reason you can borrow one from CCE’s Clothing Closet. Do I need to bring anything? Bring with you: • A nice folder or professional portfolio to keep your materials organized. • Many copies of your resume to hand to employers (upon request). • If you have different career interests, be sure to bring different versions of your resume, e.g., for a research position and for a position in industry. • A list of questions and quick pointers about each organization. • A pen and paper to take notes about the employers you meet with, after you leave the table. • A water bottle. But, if you have too much to carry, stop at the water fountain instead. • A bag. In addition to written material about the company, employers often bring fun giveaways.
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