What I Learned From My First Career Fair

Career fairs can seem overwhelming and like a lot of work. Even if you aren’t ready for a job or internship, attending a job fair can give you great experience as to what networking and interviewing is like. Here are five takeaways and tips from my career fair experience! 

1. Don't forget your resume.

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I made the mistake of waiting until the last minute to write my resume–don’t do that. There are many different types of resumes based on the extent of your work experience, activities, and skills. It’s important to choose the best one to showcase your talents. I learned that there is an abundance of resources on campus that can help with resume building including, the career center as well as specific colleges having their own career center. Yes, the Internet can be helpful, but utilizing the resources BU has to offer will only guarantee a more successful career fair experience. Usually, towards the end of the conversation, a recruiter will ask for your resume and, depending on its strength, they may contact you after the fair on their own. Plus, it makes you feel super professional.

2. What in the world is an elevator pitch? 

If you don’t know what an elevator pitch is, don’t worry, neither did I. It is basically a professional self-introduction. The basics of an elevator pitch are shaking the recruiter's hand and saying your name, major, and year. After that, include what position you are seeking, what you are looking for in a company, and the skills you bring to the table. If you know about the company/ the positions they are offering, you should tailor your elevator speech to better connect with the company. It may feel a little awkward at first but after practicing it and trying it out a few times, it becomes second nature.

3. Do research about the employers.

Do research! This is important for a few reasons. First, there are usually a lot of recruiters at the fair and not a lot of time, so it’s important to have a game plan of who you want to meet with. It can be overwhelming and having a list of who I was interested gave me a game plan. Another reason as to why research is important is because you want to be able to make a good impression on the recruiter. Asking specific questions will show that you are interested in working for them and care about the job.

4. Send a 'thank you' email.

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At the end of your conversation with the recruiter, make sure to not only give them your resume but also get their contact info. After the fair, go home and write a thank you email. This will put you on the recruiter’s radar, open the door for communication, and show how serious you are about the company.

5. It's okay to be nervous! 

I was so nervous going into the fair. I was sweating, my heels were hurting my feet, and I felt like I was in over my head. But, after my first conversation with a recruiter, I felt so much more comfortable. I began to understand the etiquette and process better. My elevator pitch became stronger and my confidence grew. I was no pro, but I was learning and that’s okay! So, remember to smile, be yourself, and it’s okay to be nervous. 

After attending my first career fair, I had a lot of takeaways. I feel more comfortable pitching myself to future employers, I know what to expect from a career fair and I know what I need to work on. Next time, it’s my mission to get an internship! 

 

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