I don’t like career fairs – they tend to be overcrowded (especially on college campuses) and full of people being overly fake. However, there are definitely benefits.
Since there are so many random people involved, you never know what connections you could make at a career fair.
Beating The Career Fair Game
Here are some of my tips and tricks for standing out in the sea of “Hi, I’ll be graduating in May, take my resume!”
1. Find A Way To Connect With The Recruiter
During one of the career fairs I attended as a student, I ended up talking to someone about an ad campaign his company had worked on. This particular campaign was one of my favorites. After a few minutes of honest conversation, he asked me for my resume and to follow-up with him with some of my portfolio clips.
2. Be A Real Person, Not A Robot
Another recruiter and I were having a conversation about his house painting franchise business (College Pro), which had a really cool business model. Mid-conversation, we got to talking about the crowd waiting to speak with recruiters at a nearby table and how so many of the students seemed to be repeating a memorized speech: “Hi, I’m a Northeastern student. I’m looking for XYZ in a job, will you take my resume?”
Here’s a hint: They’re just going to throw it away when they get back to the office unless they remember who you are!
3. Be Selective About Who You Give Your Resume To
You might be desperate, but you don’t want to seem that way. Keep in mind you’re interviewing the recruiter about the company just as much as they’re interviewing you. You show good judgment and you save some trees!
4. Go With A Plan, Then Ignore It
Know who’s going to be there and who you want to talk to, but don’t limit yourself. Fighting the crowd sucks – let it push you around and take advantage of unforseen opportunities. But don’t leave unless you’ve seen everyone on your list.
This post was originally published on an earlier date.
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