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July 14, 2010 / Suzie

Suzie’s 9 Steps to Braving a Career Fair

Later on today, I will be attending the 2010 Public Service Career and Internship Fair in Washington, DC. I’m hoping to meet with a variety of employers who will want me after college. In preparing for the fair, I stumbled upon a variety of sites dictating how to land that job ASAP in four steps or less. I’ll be upfront: there is more to career fairs than dressing up and perusing job opportunities.

Disclaimer: Career fairs are not for everyone and will definitely not guarantee you a job!

Step 1: Make sure you pair yourself up with the right career fair
Would a student with a major in anthropology really want to explore a career fair geared towards mid-level IT professionals? Doubtfully. Be sure that your interests line up with what is available at the fair.

Step 2: Really make sure you pair yourself up with the right career fair
If the fair’s theme is broad or you are looking for a particular company, have no fear in emailing or calling the organizers for a list of participating companies. Research and highlight the companies you intend to interview for.

Step 3: Find those jobs!
The internet is a beautiful thing in that it can give you a preview for what the recruiters are looking for. You don’t want to waste your time looking at a company only to find that they’re hiring for a COO instead of an accountant!

Step 4: Tailor yourself to your potential employers
Print out doubles of your resume for each job you intend to apply for, and tailor those resumes to the company’s mission statement and job description. Not sure what a good resume looks like? I will review yours for free, this week only. Email savingsuzie@gmail.com.

Also, create your 30-second to a minute personal pitch. Cover your major, a few strengths, and what kind of job you’re looking for. You don’t want a recruiter to ask you “tell me about yourself” and to respond with “uhhhh… well I was born in Tahoe and my mom is a teacher and I like lemonade…” Wrong! Remember the three C’s: clear, concise, and concrete.

Step 5: Personalize
Have a great list of references? A portfolio of your graphic designs? A knock-out transcript? Bring them, and many copies.

Step 6: Dress nicely
I do not care if this career fair is held on a pirate-themed party boat, you should look your best. That means business to business casual, and definitely lean towards business. Ladies, put make-up on, gentlemen, iron your shirts. Repeat after me: I shall not look like a slob.

Step 7: Attend!
Communications is the heart of all career fairs. Smile, be polite, don’t fidget, and act like you want to be there and build a personal relationship with the recruiters. Pass out your resume like candy. Be sure to grab business cards from every recruiter you talked to with a position you are interested in.

Step 8: Follow Up
With those handy-dandy business cards, write a thank you letter to each recruiter you talked to with a position that you’reinterested in. Thank them for their time and interest. Remember that a hand-written note is more personable than an email. Wait two weeks. If the recruiter has not yet contacted you, follow up again. Tell them that you are still interested in their company, that you think you would be an asset, and ask what the next steps are in the process.

Step 9: Do it again
Recruiters may tell you to contact them in another few weeks. Mark it on your calendar and follow up once again. Then hopefully, you’ll land a job! If not, there are plenty of career fairs around the country that are just begging for folks to fill an entry-level position. That could be you!

I will update you folks on how my experience with this career fair was. Also, this weekend I am attending the Monster DLP program in Decatur, Georgia, which I will also be treating like a career fair. Wish me luck!

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2 Comments

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  1. dddfff / Sep 24 2010 6:31 pm

    first post

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  1. Suzie Preps for Monster DLP in Atlanta « Suzie Savings

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