August is slowly creeping around the corner.
Instead of being bummed out about school starting, get excited for what lies ahead! For students, this is prime-time career fair season. During the fall months as you prepare to head back to campus and get situated, it’s important to iron your blazers and dust off your networking skills.
When I was in school at Indiana University, whether I was a freshman or senior, I took advantage of career fairs every semester. I learned about job opportunities that were offered in my community and made valuable connections. A few even landed me a part-time job on campus.
Whatever you are looking for, career fairs are a great place to start. Here is a rundown of some do’s and don’ts to keep in mind:
- Your research! Look at what companies are attending the career fair first and narrow your options down to maximize your time at the event.
- Prepare an “elevator pitch” that you can practice saying to each company/recruiter you plan to visit – a short, 30-second to a minute speech focusing on what you are looking for and what you can offer.
- Have questions prepared.
- Bring enough copies of your resume, business cards, etc.
- Dress professionally.
- Follow up with recruiters once you leave.
- Spend time with recruiters or companies that don’t interest you.
- Eliminate companies from your list just because they’re recruiting for positions outside your field. Keep your options open!
- Be afraid or intimidated by recruiters. It’s their job to help students in all kinds of industries try and find something they are passionate about.
- Drop your resume off at a table and leave. Every resume drop should include an introduction and valuable conversation.
- Ask, “Can you help me find a job?” There are many ways to ask for help without starting from direct self-interest.
- Say negative things to your recruiter about your college or previous job experiences.