Making the Career Fair Work for You Career Fairs are a valuable way to connect with potential employers. Employers can provide general information about career options in their company as well as specific information about current openings. You can attend career fairs to look for a job, gather information about a career or company learns about internship opportunities and to network with people at the fair. The keys to making a career fair a valuable experience in your job search process are: Preparation Networking Follow-up Just as with interviewing for a job, careful preparation is about 80% of a successful experience at a career fair. Preparation The first step in preparing for a career fair is to have a strong, well–written resume. Your resume needs to be focused on the job you want and highlight your skills and accomplishments. You may want to bring more than one kind of resume. Make sure your resume is error-free. No typos! If you need help writing your resume, go to the Resume Guide on the Career Services site or make an appointment with a career counselor at 303.458.3508 or 800-388-2366 x3508. Bring your business cards to the career fair. If you don’t have any, make your own! You can buy blank business cards at office supply stores or go online to Vista Print to make your own business cards. They are free but be sure to use one of the plain formats. List your name, degree, major, date of graduation and contact information. To find out which employers will attend the career fair, go to Regis CareerLink . After logging in click on Career Fair and then on View Employer Attendees. You will get the names of the companies and organizations coming to the career fair. Research the companies attending the career fair. It is very impressive to employers when people have done their research before coming to the career fair. The more informed you are, the more likely it is that you will be remembered after the career fair is over. Find out their services or products, growth pattern, divisions and subsidiaries, size, reputation, new products, number of employees, etc. Also, look at trends in their industry. Broaden your focus on what companies to research. If you have never heard of the company, do the research. Don’t just rely on companies that have known names. Think of different places you might work. For example, an accounting student might want to research account firms but also consider working as an accountant for the government, Fortune 500 companies, or non-profit organizations. Don’t limit your opportunities. Based on your research, target the employers you most want to contact at the career fair. Divide the targeted employers into three groups. 1st group – the employers you absolutely want to talk with. 2nd group – employers you are interested in connecting with. 3rd group – employers that are a stretch for you, but if you have time, you will connect with them. Prepare a thirty second professional introduction of yourself. Include information such as your name, major, relevant experience and /or skills you have what you know about the company and what you want to learn. Think of this as your own personal commercial! Practice it so you won’t forget it. Focus on what you can offer them, not on what they can do for you. This will impress the employers, and they will be more apt to remember you favorably. Have a few questions ready to ask employers. You don’t know how much time you will have with each employer; it may vary from a few seconds to several minute. The employer may ask you if you have any questions, and you need be ready with some questions. Remember to be aware and respectful of the time demands on the employers. Questions on internship possibilities, qualities they seek in a candidate and the company culture are example of appropriate questions to ask. Don’t ask the employers personal questions. Bring several resumes – more than you think you will need. Leave your resume and business card with each representative. Be sure to get their business card also. Dress professionally. First impressions do count! Networking at the Career Fair Wear comfortable, but professional looking shoes. You will be on your feet and waiting in lines to speak with popular employers. Arrive early. You don’t want to feel rushed or stressed due to being late. Go to the 2nd group of employers first to help you gain confidence, and then connect with your 1st group of employers. Go to the 3rd group if you have time. When meeting employers introduce yourself and shake hands, make eye-contact and remember to smile! Remember your 30 second professional introduction of yourself. Focus on what you have to offer-your skills and accomplishments. Listen attentively and answer any questions directly and concisely. Network with people who are attending the career fair. You may hear about other opportunities. Leave your resume and business card with each employer. Be sure to get business cards from the employers you contact. Ask the employer what the next step in the process will be. It is easy to feel overwhelmed at a crowded career fair. Take a break, pace yourself, get a cup of coffee or soft drink and come back to the fair refreshed Follow-Up Take notes on each of the employers you talk with immediately after the fair. The information will all start to run together in you mind if you don’t jot down some notes. You can jot down some notes on the back of their business cards. Send a thank you note. Write or e-mail each of the people you met and thank them for the time and information they gave you. Reiterate your interest in the company and your skills and experience. This is an important step – don’t leave it out. Follow–up on any employment opportunities you heard about. This may include emailing your resume to a specific person, requesting a job description or calling a contact the employer suggested. Career Fairs are an excellent place to increase you exposure to potential employers and to do networking. Use these ideas on making the career fair work for you. See you at the Career Fair! Thank you for participating in Making the Career Fair Work for You, offered online by Regis University Career Services. Please take the time to fill out the evaluation form for this online workshop. For a career counseling appointment at any of the Regis University campuses, contact us by phone: 303.458.3508 or 1.800.388.2366 x3508.