If you think that a college job fair is a, “If I’ve got time” kind of thing you’re flat out crazy. In reality they’re most definitely a, “You better make time” kind of thing for a large variety of reasons. Have you seen what the modern job market looks like lately? Are you aware of what kind of global competition you’re up against?
Not to pile on the pressure of anything but you need to start learning how to prepare for these things and pull them off with style. These 10 tips will get you started. Again, job fairs today are one of the only reliable ways that students can get their foot in the door. After college, it gets a whole lot harder. Let’s begin.
Tip #1: Know Who’s Going to Be There
Don’t just wing these things. Don’t waltz in not knowing a thing and looking like you must have taken a wrong turn somewhere. Instead, find the list of potential employers who will be in attendance so that you’re armed with specifics.
Tip #2: Do Some Research
Look through the list and determine who is best suited for your career goals. Remember, half the battle is just getting your foot in the door or securing an internship with anyone in the industry. You don’t have to get the dream gig or your life at a job fair. It’s about gaining access to experience as soon as possible and eventually get hired. Find out about these businesses, recent news articles, their blog, social media networks, philosophy etc., so you’ve got things to talk about.
Tip #3: Talk to Yourself in the Mirror
Human communication is 80% intonation and body language and only 20% what actually comes out of your mouth. You can practice what you want to say until the cows come home but if you do not practice HOW you will say it you won’t get the benefits you’re after. Use a mirror, ideally a full-body mirror and embody you plan to say.
Tip #4: Understand the Power of “Perceived Authority”
You want to show up in semi-formal clothes but dress for the occasion, not for the day or for classes. It’s not the same. It’s fine to be conservative but don’t look like you’re desperate. Don’t be a nerd. Be casual, upbeat, and make sure you’re well groomed with some cologne or perfume that isn’t overpowering. Perceived authority is everything until you have the real thing.
Tip #5: Prepare for Consistent Face Time
Don’t expect your first college job fair to be a smashing success. Plan on showing up to these consistently until you either land a job or an internship or at a minimum built a network of contacts you can tap into after graduation.
Tip #6: Practice Being a Fabulous Listener
Securing the ability to be a good and engaged listener is one of the most important things you’ll ever do in life. Potential employers are there out of self-interest therefore you should spend 80% of your time asking questions and intently listening to answers with keenly displayed interest.
Tip #7: Don’t Be a Douche
Seriously, you’re a college kid and you come a dime a dozen for modern employers. Even if you are the coolest kid on campus, don’t stroll in like you own the place. Be humble. Be intent. Be confident. Whatever you do, don’t be that guy/gal.
Tip #8: Be Ready to Sell Yourself
In essence everyone knows that for the most part what you learn in college really isn’t the same as real experience in the field, on the sales floor or in the board room. With that said, focus on selling yourself as a young, ambitious, smart and driven individual who will do just about anything to be a part of their team.
Tip #9: Conquer the Fear of Asking
Muscle up! Get your butt next to the plate and take a swing. Don’t play coy and expect them to hand you the paperwork or make you an offer. You’ve got to ask and not be timid or lose your composure while doing so. Conquer the fear of asking for things now while you can so that later on down the road you won’t be intimidated by it.
Tip #10: Follow Up!
So many people fall short on this final important part of everything – the follow through. You’re working your way into the building from the periphery so follow up on everything. Call them and email them until you’re told not to but don’t be a pain in the butt either.
How do you prepare for job fairs? What is the most important thing, or the most productive thing someone can do to increase their chances of being found in your opinion? Leave a comment and let us know!