| Top 6 Tips for Job Fair Success |
Job fairs have the stigma of being a waste of time. Contrary to popular belief, job fairs are a great forum for employees to find hardworking students who want to excel in their careers. Meet more than 100 employers with full-time and internship opportunities. Visit the Texas Job Fair from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on April 2 at Texas Southern University. Shuttle service will be provided from UST.
So how do students stand out in a crowd of hundreds of job-seeking young professionals? Marketing Specialist Lorena Santoni ‘11, recruited for Houston Wire & Cable Company last year, and from her employer perspective, she gives six important tips for landing a good job at a fair.
- Mind Your Appearance
“First impressions are crucial,” Santoni said. “Job fairs are just as important as a job interview, so treat it as such, this means dressing-appropriately. Take the extra effort to both dress and act in a professional manner.”
She suggests students:
- Speak up and smile.
- Introduce yourself with a nice firm handshake.
- Always keep eye contact.
- Thank employers for their time before walking away.
- Always get a business card.
- Bring Lots of Resumes
“It is essential to have a resume prepared before you attend a job fair,” she said. “If you are not certain what kind of position you are searching for, make sure to create multiple versions tailored to each individual position. It helps to review job postings online so that you can get a sense of the responsibilities of every position of interest.”
Santoni suggests proofreading your resume thoroughly and bringing more than you think you need to hand out. Also, students should take advantage of St. Thomas’ Career Services for help, and attend an upcoming workshop to have their resumes reviewed.
- Do Your Research
“Job fairs and interviews don’t have to be scary,” she said. “Though the thought of a job fair can be pretty overwhelming to a lot of people, all of that can be fixed with a bit of preparation.”
Santoni suggests organizing the list of attending companies by your level of interest. Selecting your top companies helps you mentally prepare, allowing you to focus on the task at hand.
“Think of your list as a map guiding you through the job fair chaos,” she said. “Companies love it when you come prepared and know a little about their history, so do a bit of basic background research of your top 5-10 companies. This will definitely help you stand out from the crowd.”
- Be Realistic
“Finding a dream job immediately and making an amazing salary does not happen overnight,” Santoni said. “Graduates have to continually strive to be the best they can and work to expand their knowledge and talents. Don’t ever stop shooting for the stars; everyone has to pay their dues and hard work and dedication to a company never goes unrecognized.”
- Practice Makes perfect
“Practice basic interview questions before the job fair so you don’t get caught off guard by the recruiters,” she said. “This will help you answer the questions with confidence and ease allowing the conversation to flow nicely.”
Ask Career Services for some ideas on sample questions.
- Network on Social Media
“It’s never too early to start your professional network,” she said. “Make sure you have a LinkedIn account before going to a job fair. Make an effort to go through your Facebook and other social media platforms and clean up any inappropriate photos or comments and make sure your account is private.”
Santoni said in the hiring process, companies want to hire someone who will always positively represent the company, whether at work or on the road.
Other benefits to attending a job fair include:
- Identifying employment opportunities
- Expanding your business network
- Practicing interview skills
- Getting your foot in the door
- Finding out what employers are looking for in employees
The fair is sponsored by UST Career Services and the Houston Area Consortium of Career Centers.