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How to Prepare for a Career Fair

One way to prepare for the future is to start attending career fairs. It may be nerve racking to do so, but with a few tips you’ll be able to rock it.

What to Wear

First things first, what you wear is vital to making a good first impression, while also influencing the way you feel. Try to wear business professional clothing such as blazers, long pants or a skirt. If a company you are trying to impress is more traditional, wear nylon under a skirt and heeled shoes rather than flats. Also, make sure to avoid any plunging necklines and excessive amounts of a color (pops of color are encouraged, just don’t over do it).

What to Say

Before going to the career fair, it is important to craft a pitch. There are four main points that you want to make sure to cover. These four things include:

1)   Begin by telling them your name, major, and year.

2)   Express that you have done research and are familiar with the company (that includes actually doing research beforehand).

3)   Tell them you are interested in working for them.

4)   Let them know 2-3 skills that you can bring to their company.

After telling them a bit about yourself, show them your resume. Do not give them your resume before your pitch because it may distract them from what you are saying.

Impressing them at the Interview

Once you score an interview, it is important to keep your game up. Remember that the purpose of an interview is to assess whether you fit in with the organization. Behavioral interviewing is becoming more popular. These questions do not always have a right or wrong answer, but rather help the employee get an understanding of what you are like in a work environment. An example of a behavioral interview question is, “ Tell me about a time you faced a conflict with a supervisor.” In order to address questions such as this one, mention the challenge you were faced with, how you addressed the problem and what was the result of it. An easy way to think of this is “CAR” or challenge, action, result. Also don’t forget that phrasing it is a vital part of what you say, making sure to be diplomatic about the way you respond. Another important aspect to consider is that you want to remain positive throughout the whole interview. Even when discussing your weaknesses, bring it back to the positive and explain how you are trying to improve.

A few other things to remember is that even if you don’t have a lot of experience in the field you are pursuing, you can still bring up soft skills that you may have. These are skills that you may have acquired when working at another job, whether at a retail store or an ice cream parlor. The job does not need to be relevant in order for you to bring it up. It has been proven that what employers are looking for most is the ability to work within a team.

If you find yourself wanting to know more information, feel free to visit the Career Center on campus. They have plenty of resources available for students. One resource being an application called Big Interview, which you can find on Mustang Jobs. This allows you to record yourself and practice your interview skills. You even have the option to send your recording to a Cal Poly career counselor to hear feedback. With all these resources available, there is no reason you shouldn’t succeed.

Julia is a Cal Poly student looking to work in marketing and public relations in the future. She has always identified herself as multicultural. She grew up, spending every summer in the Andes Mountain region of Ecuador, which soon became her second home. These summers inspired her love for the environment and the Latin culture. Today, she enjoys hiking, practicing yoga, and spending her days at the beach.
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