Career Fairs. If you’re anything like me, those two words come with a lot of anxiety. Career Fairs can basically set you up for your future; kind of intimidating! However, you get the opportunity to showcase yourself to businesses and positions that you are interested in. Thinking of the future can be scary, but it should also be exciting! After going to a few career fairs during my time at Plymouth State University, I have come up with some tips and tricks for having a successful time at a Career Fair.
1. Dress to Impress.
This may seem obvious, but first impressions are HUGE. Not only does your appearance reflect your professionalism, it also reflects your attitude. Taking the time to look the part shows these recruiters that you care. This doesn’t mean you have to go out and buy a new outfit. Just make sure that the clothes you are wearing are wrinkle free, clean, and professional. And make sure your hair is neat and out of your face. Don’t hide behind it. Again, this may seem like obvious information but you’d be surprised how many people stand out at a career fair because of their appearance (and not in a good way).
2. Be prepared.
Your elevator pitch should be short, but concise. You don’t want to be taking up all of the recruiters time. You should communicate your experiences, your goals, and your strengths. Remember to include what you can offer to the desired business through these experiences, goals, and strengths. Practice, practice, practice. Also, don’t get caught with not knowing about the company or the position. Chances are the recruiters will ask you about their business. Research the companies and the positions that you are interested in. Not only will this help you gain some confidence, it will also help you stand out from the crowd.
3. Recruiters are just like you.
Although they seem intimidating, recruiters often find the same things uncomfortable about career fairs that you do. Those conversations and the amount of people are also awkward and sometimes overwhelming for recruiters. They’re people, just like you. Remember that.
4. You are not alone.
The emotions that you feel at a career fair are 100% normal. You are not the only one who feels overwhelmed, anxious, and nervous at a career fair. If you don’t have these emotions, you’re lying. Just remember that being prepared will lessen these feelings. One of my favorite quotes is “Fake it ’til you make it.” This absolutely applies to this situation. Go into the career fair with confidence, even if this confidence is not completely real. Recruiters will notice this, and at the end of the day you will gain the confidence that you were “faking” to have at the beginning of the day.
5. Don’t quit.
It’s okay if you’re elevator pitch and the words you prepared don’t go as planned. It may seem like the end of the world, but I can assure you it’s not. Remain calm and continue talking. Don’t quit; pick yourself up and try again. This is a learning experience. You will be okay, I promise.