Every semester, the University of Georgia Career Center hosts a career fair at The Classic Center for current students and alumni seeking jobs or internships. This semester, the Spring Career Fair is on Wednesday, Jan. 29 from noon-5 p.m. There, attendees can talk to potential employers and make a good first impression for the future. Since these events can be nerve-wracking, it’s important to prepare a plan before you go.
1. Check out the list of employers beforehand.
This is a crucial first step since it’ll allow you to think about what you’ll say to each employer before you go. Remember the ones who interest you so you won’t feel overwhelmed when you arrive at the fair. This includes a quick once-over at potential employers so you can better showcase your knowledge and enthusiasm when you meet them. The list is available on the University of Georgia career website Handshake.
2. Prepare copies of your resume.
Your resume is your golden ticket to entering the job or internship market. Make sure it’s only one page long and includes relevant background experience to the field you’re trying to enter. After you know which companies you’d like to talk to, print out enough resumes to give to all employers and a few more in case you see any others that interest you.
3. Dress professionally.
Make sure that the outfit you choose to wear to the fair shows you’re serious about the job and internship search. The dress code is business professional, so make sure you look presentable but also comfortable enough for you to wear for an extended period of time.
4. Rehearse an elevator speech beforehand.
Bring up what makes you qualified and why you want the position. Also discuss specific factors about the company that draw you towards it because this will show that you’re serious because you took the time to research them beforehand. You can practice in front of a mirror or with a friend. Rather than simply memorizing a script beforehand, go through a mental checklist that expands on your resume.
5. Bring a notebook.
Career fairs present a healthy opportunity for learning. But sometimes, all the information you’ll receive gets overwhelming. By bringing a notebook or something else with which to take notes, you’ll stay organized while also absorbing as much information as you can. Plus, the notes you take could come in handy later.
6. Don’t be afraid to ask for an employer’s business card.
After your conversation with multiple potential employers, ask them for their card so you can get in touch with them after the fair. Also, it may be a good way to show the representative you are serious about their business.
7. Don’t forget to show some gratitude and follow up.
It’s always a good idea to send a short thank-you note to the employers you meet. Whether it's a handwritten note or an email, thank-yous show employers you take initiative.
Remember that attending the fair already shows these employers you’re serious about seeking a job or internship. But making sure you’re prepared beforehand will make you seem like a better candidate for the job or internship, and it will ensure you make a lasting impression on them.