It is hard to believe that it is the fall, that time of the year when classes resume and college seniors start to prepare to enter the job market. College career fairs are held every semester and offer students a chance to secure a job before graduation. If you are a current college student, you have probably been told by everyone, from peers to advisors, the basics of preparing for a career fair: dress professionally, have your resume critiqued and printed on resume paper, and take full advantage of your university’s career center.
The day before the career fair, you go over your checklist and are pleased to find that you have hit upon all three points. You feel ready. But wait! Are you really prepared? Before going into the fair, keep these tips in mind:
- Do your research: Colleges usually publish a list of the companies that will be at the fair, along with their websites. Visit these websites; learn about the company; familiarize yourself with their history, mission, and vision; as well as with any new projects they might be starting. Having this information will make you better prepared and a better candidate in their eyes.
- The devil’s in the details: Make sure to pay attention to the little things, such as the formatting of your resume, misspelled words, or inaccurate acronyms. Keep your resume simple: don’t overdo the bullet points, avoid too many fonts, and use action verbs.
- Be sure to make a good first impression: Your physical appearance is important. Keep physical appearance simple as well: no big jewelry, heavy makeup, or perfume/cologne should be used. Be clean and alert. Casual business attire is a must. Wearing what you wear to a football game is not okay.
- Be confident: Remember, everyone was in your shoes at one point. If you appear confident, are prepared, and present a positive attitude, you might just be the one behind the company booth recruiting college students one day.
Special thanks to Mariam Japaridze, University of Georgia psychology student, for her contributions to this post.
Photo via Flickr: Mays Business School