How Your Student Can Make the Most of Career Fairs

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The fall Career Fair, hosted by the Center for Career Discovery & Development (C2D2), is the largest Career Fair on Georgia Tech's campus. Every year, more than 400 companies and 5,000 students attend the fair. Companies attending the fair are hiring co-ops, interns, and full-time positions, with students from all majors and degree types. This year's fair will be held on September 11-12, 2017, in Georgia Tech's Campus Recreation Center.

Students who want to nail the interview and land the job can prepare by taking advantage of mock interviews, resume blitzes, seminars, etiquette dinners, and workshops, where professionals from business and industry, their college, or Georgia Tech’s Center for Career Discovery and Development share their guidance and expertise.

But what advice might students have for other students when it comes to making the most of Georgia Tech’s many face-to-face job search opportunities? How do they manage the pitfalls of personal appearance, the intimidation of the interview, the hazards of the handshake, the night-before nerves? CLICK HERE to see tips from students regarding their Career Fair experiences from last year in 2016.

The director of C2D2, Dr. Michelle Tullier, also has some great advice for students looking to get the most out the Fair:

Attend the fair. This may seem obvious, but not every student does. "The Co-op and Internship Fair is a great networking and exploration opportunity for students of all majors,” Tullier said. “If you get there and talk to an employer who is looking for engineering students and you're a liberal arts or sciences major, for example, ask if they have recruiter colleagues you could contact about opportunities in other areas of their company.”

Practice. “Most students know to practice for an interview, but not a fair,” said Tullier. She recommends preparing a 20- to 30-second “elevator pitch” that briefly captures who you are, what you offer, and what you’re looking for. “Every interaction with a recruiter is like a mini interview. Practice delivering a smooth elevator pitch, giving a firm handshake, and making good eye contact.”

Plan your strategy. To make the most of your time at the fair, Tullier recommends that students plan ahead by reviewing the company list to know who will be there and identifying priority employers to target. Look online at the list of employers attending the fair to see which companies you want to talk with and look up background information on those employers. 

Get — and stay — organized. Tullier also advises having a plan for how to keep everything organized as you get materials during the fair. “You can walk out with a lot of business cards and handouts, and it can be overwhelming,” she said. “Take only the information you need, and make notes on the back of business cards or on your phone or tablet to remember key discussion points for when you follow up after the fair.”

Follow up. If recruiters instruct you to apply on CareerBuzz after the fair, be sure to do so promptly. Also, many recruiters use LinkedIn as a resource for filling positions, and students should be visible and active there. Tullier recommends that students ask to connect on LinkedIn with anyone they connected with in person at the fair. Even if the request isn’t accepted, students will have gotten their names in front of the recruiter one more time.

Encourage your students to attend the Career Fair and make the most of their time while they are there. Even if they’re not looking for a job right now, the connections they can make during this time can put them in a good position for whenever they decide to start job hunting.

CLICK HERE for a bonus article that discusses the “5 Tips to Avoid the Most Common Career Fair Mistakes.”


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    Sara Warner
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