Thursday, September 1, 2011

Preparing for a career fair

Life is not always a career fair…and thank goodness!  Career fairs can be stressful if you are not properly prepared.  In order to help simplify the career fair process, CES has a variety of tips and resources to help you prepare for the upcoming All-UniversityCareer Fair, September 20-21.

Bring your resume.
Bring 20-30 copies of your resume to share with attending employers.  Take advantage of Walk-in Wednesday, Resume Critiques and Midnight Resume Madness workshops to ensure your resume is employer ready.

Broaden your focus.
Consider visiting with a wide variety of employers at the career fair.  Employers that are not directly related to your field of study generally hire professionals in different fields.  For example, hospitals not only hire doctors and nurses, but management, accounting and technology professionals.  Review career fair materials for employers looking for candidates with your qualifications.

Research companies in advance.
Research the companies you want to visit with before attending the career fair and write down any questions you want to ask the attending representative.  Additionally, study the event map to determine your route in order to maximize your time while at the career fair.

Prepare an elevator speech.
Prepare a brief 30 second elevator speech to introduce yourself to employers.  Include your name, major and why you are interested in a certain field of study or an organization.  Show the employer how your background and knowledge relates to the needs of the company.  Make sure to practice your speech beforehand to ensure it sounds natural.

Dress professionally.
A career fair is basically a series of informal interviews, so make a strong first impression by dressing professionally.  Men should wear slacks or khakis with a dress shirt and tie.  Professional dress for women includes dress slacks or a skirt with a simple button-down shirt or blouse.  Students in need of professional attire can shop the CES Career Closet for gently used professional attire FREE of charge.

Properly preparing for a career fair will help you feel confident and focused when visiting with employers.

More information about preparing for a career fair can be found by attending the How to Succeed at a Career Fair workshop Thursday, September 15 at 4 p.m. in the K-State Student Union, Room 212.

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