Tag Archives: job fair

Four Steps to a Solid First Impression

As we continue to power through Job Fair Season, it’s important to always remember the basics: make eye contact, smile, and have a firm handshake. There’s another aspect of the basics that you should never forget: your first impression! I’m sure you all have heard the expression before of “you only get one chance to make a good first impression,” and that is especially true during your job or internship search. This can be particularly nerve-wracking when you are going into a job fair or networking event, where you are vying with scores of other people to leave a good impression on an employer.  As part of the 4 Minute Read series, Fast Company shares four tips on how to make a memorable (in a good way!) first impression.

  1. Connect with the employer in a professional and personal manner. Your conversation doesn’t have to be strictly business. Allow the conversation to deviate if it means you can connect over a mutual interest- just make sure you go back to the original topic or interview question!
  2. Use numbers. I’m sure your professors have told you that statistics in research papers or presentations are a great way to grab the audiences’ attention.  Well, the same thing happens when you connect with an employer. Be sure to have an interesting statistic- whether it’s related to their company or the industry as a whole- to show you know your stuff.
  3. Share a fun fact. In the same vein as sharing a statistic, look for opportunities to share an interesting fact. Maybe it’s a life hack, or a cultural understanding, or a tip for their social media platform. Keep in mind this shouldn’t be totally out of the blue, but if it contributes to the conversation, feel free to share!
  4. Be word-conscious. Think about what you are saying to ensure you are concise, but still getting your point across in an effective way. Make sure they are words you won’t trip over or mispronounce.

Just as you practice your handshake and elevator speech, practice using these tips on an everyday basis so when the time comes to meet with an employer, you will really knock their socks off! To read more insight from Fast Company, click here: https://www.fastcompany.com/3066553/four-easy-ways-to-make-a-memorable-first-impression

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Making a Decision in Three Seconds

In the coming weeks, our office will be involved in multiple job and internship fairs. These are excellent opportunities for students to connect with many employers in a short amount of time, but as we have discussed in previous posts, they can seem overwhelming to attend. One particular source of anxiety for attendees is not knowing what employers are looking for. As someone asked in a Jobipedia question: How do recruiters determine which students are worth pursuing from a 3-minute conversation at a career fair? It’s true- what can a recruiter possibly see in a 3-minute chat about whether a candidate will be a good fit, or fill a need, in their company? Thankfully, a few employers responded, giving insight into what they look for at recruiting events such as job fairs.

A representative from The Hershey Company had a few suggestions. First, to be prepared and don’t hesitate to initiate the conversation. Second, to have an elevator speech that is concise, but gives insight into who you are. Third, make sure what you are looking for in a job is actually available at the company at that given time. The representative recommended researching the careers section of the company website before the fair, but we also recommend using LinkedIn, or reading the website of the organization hosting the fair, as they will sometimes give details about what positions companies are looking to fill while in attendance. A Hiring Expert from Pitney Bowes indicated that, at fairs, they are looking for candidates with not only the technical skills to do the job successfully but also cultural fit- does the candidate present a personality that would mesh well with current employees. Finally, a representative from AT&T encouraged candidates to focus on their first impression- not only echoing the importance of the elevator speech, but also to be cognizant of clothing choice. Another key take-away from their feedback was to be confident!

To read the full answers to this question and many others, click here: http://www.jobipedia.org/Questions/Conversation/How-do-recruiters-determine-which-students-are-worth-pursuing-from-a-3-minute-conversation-at-a-career-fair

Making the Most of Networking

One of our goals this semester is to offer more opportunities for our students to make connections.  With that, we’re switching from one large job and internship fair to smaller, more industry-specific fairs throughout the year.  This will allow students to network more and see what options are available to them, while still being in the comfort zone of their major. As we’ve discussed many times in this blog, networking, no matter how small and relaxed, can still cause anxiety for students.  Don Goodman from Careerealism has some wonderful tips to share for networkers.

  1. Set a realistic goal.  If it’s a large networking event, don’t be determined to meet with every single person.  Use the “quality over quantity” logic and have more meaningful conversations with fewer people.
  2. Be approachable. Networking is a two-way conversation. Be aware of your body language when meeting with recruiters, and don’t be afraid to make small talk while eating hors d’oeuvres. Of course, always remember to smile!
  3. Maintain rapport. Making small talk can be difficult, but it doesn’t have to be work-related.  Maintaining rapport is simply keeping the conversation going and learning more about each other as professionals.
  4. Relax! Let the conversation evolve naturally. Giving off a relaxed vibe will feed into the second tip of being approachable. Keep in mind that a networking event or job fair isn’t a competition- it’s an opportunity for you to find quality connections.

To read all of Mr. Goodmans’ article and read his tips in depth, click here: http://www.careerealism.com/networking-events-making-quality-connections/

Job Fair? We’ve Got Tips for That

Job Fairs can be overwhelming. We get that. But they can also be a great way to meet a lot of employers in a couple of hours. It can be especially nerve-wracking for students because many times, they have never been to a job fair before. Here are some tips to help calm your nerves.

  1. Remember, it’s almost a guarantee that no other student has done this either. They’re just as nervous as you are. Take some deep breaths to help you relax, and smile!
  2. Most, if not all, job fairs will post which employers will in attendance and positions for which they are recruiting. You can plan and save time by knowing who you want to see.
  3. Even if an employer is listed as only having positions in certain fields open, don’t completely eliminate them. If there is a company you know you want to work for or that you know usually has openings that are a better fit for you, you can still talk with the employer and give them your resume for their future reference.
  4. Make a check list before you go. Have resumes ready, business cards, admission fee (if needed), professional clothing that is stain and wrinkle free, and a pen. Many students also like to bring a padfolio so they can take notes as they talk with employers, plus it has a pocket to keep resumes flat.
  5. Write, and practice, your elevator speech ahead of time. This is your 20-30 second speech, all about you, that you tell to employers as you shake their hand. Use that time to give your name, major, the job you’re interested in with them, and some relevant skills and experiences you have. On that note, practice your hand shaking too! Don’t squeeze too hard or too softly, and only hold for 2 or 3 pumps.
  6. Remember to get business cards from the employers, and follow up with them. Send them an email the next day thanking them for taking the time to come to the job fair and talking with you. Then, send them a hand-written card. And then, call them the next week to see if they have any questions or need any other information from you.
  7. Last but certainly not least, don’t forget your career center is here to help you, as well! Contact us if you need help with your resume or working on your elevator speech.