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The Inside Scoop on Career Fairs

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It’s career fair season! For this week’s blog, we asked two engineering students who have been there, done that when it comes to career fairs for their top tips. Both Chemical Engineering students, Megan Fahrenkamp is a 4th year and Max Arenas is a 3rd year.  

Megan’s advice:  

  1. Be realistic with how many companies you plan to talk to. Keep in mind that lines can get long, and sometimes you need a break! I like to limit myself to around 5 companies, and I have a “backup” list ready to go in case I have extra time.  
  2. Utilize the virtual day! I have received all my offers from the virtual day of the career fair. In my opinion, it’s lower stress and it’s easier to connect with the recruiter virtually than in the Union with all the craziness going on. Also, there are usually some really cool companies that can’t make it to the in-person day, so make sure you at least look over the company list.  
  3. Look over a company’s website and pick 1-2 things that interest you about them AND that you can remember. Recruiters are impressed when you can tell them about their company and tell them directly what you’re looking for within it. 
  4. I also use their website to help me generate a list of questions. Have questions prepared to ask them--remember, you’re also “interviewing” them! Don’t be afraid to have a list of written questions with you to pull out during your discussion; it shows a recruiter that you are prepared.  
  5. Bring double the amount of resumes you think you need. 
  6. Dress to impress, but make sure you’re comfortable! Wear good shoes and be prepared for it to be hot.  
  7. Go with a friend! It’s helpful to have a friendly face in case you get nervous or just need a quick break to de-stress. 
  8. Above all, go into each separate interaction with a recruiter with a fresh mindset. Regardless of how your previous interaction went, this is a new company and a new chance! You got this!!  

Max’s tips:  

  1. Research the companies that will be in attendance before the career fair as that will help you stand out and demonstrate to the company that you are truly interested since you took the initiative beforehand to learn more about them and the positions available.  
  2. Be confident in your abilities and skills as you know the information included in your career fair materials (i.e. elevator pitch and resume) better than anyone else. 
  3. Talking to any company representative can be nerve-wracking, but at the end of the day, they are a human being just like everyone else. So, make sure to keep that in mind when you are talking with them and just take a deep breath. 
  4.  If an interaction with a company representative doesn't go exactly as planned rather than using the experience as a negative, turn it into a positive by using it as a learning experience to continue to grow as a professional.    
  5. Rejection is bound to happen as it is a part of life and the process of searching for employment opportunities. Keep in mind that rejection doesn't define who you are, so be optimistic and persistent in your job search.  

“Opportunity does not waste time with those who are unprepared.” ― Idowu Koyenikan 

Category: Career Fairs