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6 Mistakes to Avoid at a Career Fair

Iron your pantsuits and print out those resumes. Its that time of year again, Hofstra collegiettes!

Today during common hour is this year’s first Career Fair of the semester featuring companies like Apple, Bloomberg, Target, Viacom and Urban Outfitters in attendance. It all goes down from 11 am to 2 pm at the Mack Sports Center and Exhibition Complex.

With real world employers offering real world positions for upcoming graduates, being on your most professional behavior is an understatement. Here are a few things to AVOID when walking into the Career Fair.

Leave the food and drink at the door.

These potential employers don’t really care if you were rushing to get to the fair on time and didn’t have time to finish breakfast. Take your last few sips and bites before you step inside, check your teeth and pop a breath mint—not gum. Never, ever chew gum in a Career Fair!

Avoid being on your phone.

I know by this point we’re all digital natives and practically live on our phones, but be sure to put it on silent and shut your notifications off while at the tables. You want to give the scout your undivided attention. Don’t even glance at it to check the time. Instead, wear a watch.

Don’t wear shoes you can’t walk in.

Yes, the point of a career fair is to get employers to see you as a legitimate adult. But nothing makes a collegiette look less like an adult than tiptoeing around in a pair of sky-high heels she can’t walk in. To stay on the safe side, opt for closed toe heels 4 inches or less or maybe even some chic flats.

Don’t show up unprepared

Anticipate the questions potential employers might ask you. For example “What degree are you pursuing?”, “What interests you about our company?”, “Where do you see yourself in five years?”

In addition to being mentally prepared, make sure you’ve got the paperwork to back up your words. Print out a minimum of ten resumes to have in a folder or portfolio ready to hand out and, if you’re feeling extra ambitious, get some business cards printed as Staples to exchange with the interviewers and scouts.

Ease up on the makeup and perfume

A lot of collegiettes make the mistake piling on makeup and perfume to try and seem older at career fairs. No need to treat the fair like its some big night out or a date with your future. The employers know you’re a young, fresh-faced collegiette, so it’s ok to look like one.

Don’t be shy about what you want

If you’ve researched the employers that will have tables at the Career Fair and you know you want to talk to one company in particular, go for it! Don’t worry about seeming too eager and not “shopping around” at the other tables. Make the business you want your top priority and they’ll make you theirs.

Keep these tips in the back of your mind as your chat it up with professionals. Good luck and happy hunting!

Got anymore Career Fair tips? Let us know in the comments below.

A Boston girl living in New York, Sidney is a senior at Hofstra University double majoring in journalism and sociology. She's grown to love interviewing and feature writing after interning at  non-profits, Cosmopolitan Magazine, MTV News and the 2012 Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, NC. She is the Campus Correspondent of HC Hofstra as well as an active member in the Hofstra Association of Black Journalists, Ed2010 Hofstra and the Society of Collegiate Journalists. She loves dancing with her on-campus team, Imani Dance Ensemble, and has an incurable addiction to shoes, Boston sports teams and Japanese barbeque. Follow Sidney on Twitter, @Sid_Madden!
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