The fall semester of your senior year of college is the perfect time to start the search for a job. And there's something your school offers that not enough students take advantage of: career fairs. Career fairs are a great way to explore your potential career options for the future. Whether it’s an on-campus or off-campus position, there are multiple ways to make yourself stand out at a career fair. These tips range from sharpening your résumé to dressing professionally—all of which will catch an employer’s eye!
1. Personalize your résumé
Employers are so used to seeing white Word documents. By adding some color or detail, your résumé will catch the attention of any employer. This step is especially helpful for those majoring in the arts, including Photography, Graphic Design, or Art Therapy. Websites like Canva and Vizualize provide their users with multiple templates and layouts that allow you to create a visually pleasing résumé. And Vizualize lets you connect directly to your LinkedIn profile (what a plus!).
2. Ask questions
When visiting tables at a job fair, it is crucial to ask questions. It lets a recruiter know you are interested in their organization. It is also important to avoid asking simple yes or no questions—this will cut your conversations and networking time short. Instead, make sure to research the organization before the fair and ask thoughful inquiries about the company or specific positions you are interested in.
3. Dress to impress
Unless stated otherwise, it is usually required to dress business casual or in interview attire. Although you don’t have to wear a blazer and dress pants, it would help you stand out as a professional student. In addition to your outfit, make sure to bring a folder or clipboard and pen to jot down notes when interacting with employers. By dressing up for job fairs, employers will recognize that you take this seriously and have the potential for working in a business or office setting.
4. Confidence is key
By researching the organizations or companies and having a list of questions, you will come across as confident and driven. Not to mention, taking the initiative to attend a job for, approach certain companies, and really have a conversation with them will say a lot about you too. Not only will this show employers you are enthusiastic and actively searching for a job, but it will also highlight that you are confident in your skills and abilities.
5. Thank the recruiters
Treat the job fair like an interview and always thank the recruiters you met and had a connection with. Typically, recruiters will give out their contact information to students to answer any questions they may have after the fair. By sending a simple thank-you email, the recruiter will know you are interested in their positions and company. This will also help you stand out as a personable and polite candidate for hiring. Additionally, it doesn’t hurt to connect with recruiters via LinkedIn—especially if you had a long conversation and a strong networking connection.
Related: How to Write a Professional Email
Hopefully these tips will help you conquer your school’s next job fair. We know approaching professional adults can seem intimidating, especially when you may not know exactly what company, or even what industry, you want to work in. But attending job fairs can only help you in finding the right career fit. Now grab your résumé and get hired!
Are you actively looking for a job? Check out some great advice to help you land one in the Finding A Job articles of our Internships and Careers section.