If you look around, many job hunting opportunities are available to us now, including university-sponsored career fairs and job fairs in the community.  Unfortunately for most, career fairs cause anxiety because of the amount of people who attend or because of the pressure people put on themselves to impress employers.  Here are some thoughts to keep in mind while attending career fairs.

Types of Career Fairs

Be mindful of the type of career fairs you attend, whether they are on college campuses or in large cities.  Campus-sponsored events host company recruiters who specifically look for college students needing a part-time internship during school or a job after graduation.  These fairs are great to practice meeting professionals and learning how to talk with them about the field.  On a larger scale, major cities host career fairs when many companies’ recruiters are looking for recent graduates or professionals in the field.  Recruiters at these fairs are usually looking for employees with more field experience, so they can be competitive and difficult to navigate.  Read over this article from collegegrad.com to learn how to deal with the different kinds of career fairs out there.

Prior Preparation

Try to go to career fairs early to get your feet wet and practice talking with employers.  Attending career fairs and networking early will make you more comfortable with more important fairs later.  When you’re seriously looking for a job or internship, begin preparing for career fairs early by actively researching when they will be.  There will usually be a list of companies from your university that will be represented at the fair, so read through the list and decide which companies you want to focus on.  Then, work on your resume and talk with on-campus advisors and career counselors about the fair.  To get more advice about career fairs and how to prepare for them, read through Mike Profita’s article on about.com.

Elevator Talk

Have you ever been asked what you want to do in your career, and you received a blank stare after listing your major?  A way to avoid awkwardly trying to explain your major or your hopeful career path is by preparing an elevator talk.  Basically, you should be able to tell someone about where you are in your professional life during an elevator ride.  Depending on your stage of life/career, this talk can be about your present college career, the background and goals of a company where you’re employed, or your personal achievements and ambitions.  Whatever you decide to base your elevator talk on, learn some more tips about it in this mindtools.com article.

To gain more perspective about our tips on job searching, whether you’re in school or have graduated, read over this PhDStudent article to gain some perspective.  Have you visited any career fairs at your university or in your community?  We’d like to know how your experience went and how we can help you prepare even better for future fairs.  Leave a comment in the comment section below.


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