How to prepare for the Job Fair/Career EXPO.
There are a number of things you can do to prepare for an job fair, whether on or off campus. Certainly you'll want to establish why you are going, set a goal. Is it to learn more information about your chosen field(s) of interest? Do you hope to identify internship opportunities for the future - or for now? Are you wanting to make connections that will assist you in landing that first full-time professional position? All of these are appropriate goals for the EXPO.
Ahead of time:
- Research who will be attending and target your resume, if appropriate for the different needs of the organizations of interest to you.
- Prepare some questions - based on your research - that you can ask the recruiters, company specific or just in general.
- Develop and practice your 60-second commercial (or elevator speech) about who you are and what has brought you to this point PROFESSIONALLY.
- Decide on your outfit for the day - and make sure it is appropriate to both (a) your goals for the EXPO and (b) the industry/job to which you aspire. What is appropriate attire for a sophomore animal science major looking for an internship is entirely different than for a senior (about to graduate) accounting major.
- For more information on each of these steps, visit our online interviewing workshop.
What to bring with you to the EXPO:
- Copies of your resume to hand out. Bring plenty so you can leave one with each recruiter with whom you speak. If you haven't already attended a Resume Workshop in the Career Services office,check out our current schedule and make plans to attend one NOW to prepare for the event.
- Copies of your official transcript. These are free from the registrar's office.
- A padfolio/portfolio/folder with paper so you can make notes, store business cards, etc. We recommend a leather or vinyl portfolio - a notebook which contains a note pad as well as a place for papers, business cards, etc. that you will pick up from employers. They sell these at major retailers as well as the WTAMU bookstore.
- Several copies of your reference sheet - you may or may not need these, but if you are asked it is helpful to have on hand.
At the Fair/EXPO:
- When you check in at the door with the Career Services staff, you will receive a map of all employers in the room. Use this to 'plan your strategy' on who to visit in what order. We encourage you to stop and say hello to every vendor at the event.... you never know what opportunities they may have available. Above all do not make assumptions about who might hire what majors. We work with many companies who hire individuals from 'unexpected' majors. For example, one major clothing retailer develops and produces their own fragrances - thus they have a need for chemists. Fast food chains oftentimes are seeking accountants or marketers to assist in their businesses. Unless you have that conversation, you will never know.
- Check the 'job board' outside many of our events. Employers will complete 'help wanted' notices that we post for you to view before you go in the room.
- Take breaks, if needed. Come out to the lobby and reorganize your bag and padfolio. Sit down and take a few deep breaths before approaching your 'dream company.'
- Last but most importantly, bring your smile and upbeat attitude. Leave your shyness at the door. Don't be afraid to approach tables and enjoy discussing the many opportunities available to you!
After the event - how to follow up:
- Be sure to follow up on any requests you received at the fair. If someone asked you to email your resume to them or to go online and do their corporate application, etc. get that done as quickly as possible.
- Write a note of thanks to anyone you met who provided you with valuable information about his/her organization. This will establish your professionalism as well as your communication and writing ability and is guaranteed to make an impression.
- Keep the lines of communication open. Use this opportunity to establish a relationship and check in regularly with those organization of interest to you.