So, we all want a job and we all need to network—what now? Follow these 10 steps and you’ll have that interview in no time!
1. Create a resume
If you don’t have a resume yet, make one! There are many free templates available online that look great and you can always purchase templates on Etsy if you’re not interested in the others. Either way, templates are an easy way to get started. Once you download the template, focus on the material. Avoid including high school experience, unless you’re a freshman. I stick with a format that starts with my academics, followed by experience and leadership skills, activities and lastly interests, skills and hobbies. The most important part of your resume is your ability to walk someone through it, so practice!
2. Create a LinkedIn
Your LinkedIn profile is a great aspect to include in your resume as well! This is an awesome way for recruiters to be reminded of what you look like and to view an online version of your resume. Try to gain 500+ connections as quickly as you can.
3. Create your own business cards
This is my favorite part! There are a variety of online sites that have great business card templates. I highly recommend making yourself business cards that include your major/minor, address, email and phone number in order to give recruiters another tangible information source.
4. Order a Padfolio
Padfolios can be found on Amazon for less than $20. Within the Padfolio, there should be a notebook in order for you to take notes on the different recruiters during the career fair, your business cards, a pen and multiple copies of your resume.
5. Research employers
Most colleges post the companies that will be attending the career fair in advance. Take a look at who is coming, determine which companies will be hiring for your major, and do thorough research on their culture, values, clients (if applicable) and the industry. I keep this information on a one page piece of paper in my Padfolio so that I can refer to it during the career fair if necessary.
6. Determine who you’re going to visit
Once you have all of the information on who will be there, pick your top five employers. By doing this, you are able to walk into the career fair with a path, and it will in turn allow you to calm down and know what to expect.
7. Make an elevator speech
An elevator speech is typically a 30 second speech that gives recruiters a quick synopsis of who you are and why you’re standing in front of them. I use, “Hi, how are you? My name is Madeline Hutfless. I am a junior here at SMU. I’m a Markets and Culture major and an Advertising minor. Your company is one that I was looking forward to visiting today because I am very interested in your marketing position. Could you tell me more about…”
8. Pick your outfit
Depending on the culture of the companies you’re applying to, your outfit could look very different. If their values are dress and professionalism, wear a suit (pant or skirt is fine). If their values are to be unique and modern, add some flare to the outfit. If you’re not quite sure, it’s always better to overdress than underdress.
9. Ask for their business card
Before you leave their table, there’s a few things you need to do. First, ask a few closing questions to assure them that you’re interested. Second, hand them your resume and business card. Lastly, ask them for their business card. You’ll need this for the next step.
10. Follow up emails
Within 24 hours, reach out to them via email and thank them for their time and for visiting the Career Fair. If possible, mention something unique from your experience in order to make the email more personable.
Take a deep breath, follow these steps, and knock out your next career fair!