A College Girl’s Guide: Rocking The Career Fair

Hey y’all, and welcome back to my second installment of rocking a career fair! If you missed last week’s post on how to prep for the career fair, give it a quick read before you move on to this post!

This week, we’re talking all about how to shine during the career fair. You’ve got a kick-butt resume prepared. You’ve been repeating your elevator pitch in your sleep because you know it so well. And now you’re ready to GET THAT JOB.

This week, we’re talking all about how to shine during the career fair. You’ve got a kick-butt resume prepared. You’ve been repeating your elevator pitch in your sleep because you know it so well. And now you’re ready to GET THAT JOB.

Get A Map, and Move Off to the Side

More than likely, they’ll hand out a map of where booths are located when you walk in. Take a step to the side, and find out where all of your “A” and “B” companies are located.

Make sure to create a game plan. Like I said in the previous post, I like to start with my “B” companies to warm up my speaking voice and create a rhythm.

Will one company be particularly popular? Hit that one first before the lines form. If there’s a long line when you get there, it might be worth it to come back towards the end when the crowds have died down.

Just make sure you use your time wisely! You don’t want (or need) to spend 4+ hours at the fair.

Start the Chit-Chat

For an introvert like me, walking up to someone I don’t know and rattling off facts about myself is as high on my “Fun Things To Do” list as cleaning toilets.

But chatting with recruiters is the name of the game, so muster up all of your confidence (because you’re super prepared, remember?) and go for it!

I can imagine it’s like skydiving, where the hardest part is jumping. I’ll look to y’all for some confirmation on this since I have yet to jump out of a plane.

The recruiters know that you’re supposed to walk up to them, so they’re expecting it! Put on your best smile, have this company’s resume sitting on top of your folder and give the recruiter your most adult handshake.

Even if your heart is beating out of your chest, fake it to you make it!

This is where you rattle off your well-prepared elevator speech. Don’t make it seem like you’re reading from a teleprompter, though. That makes you sound boring, and no one wants to work with boring.

Hopefully, this all leads to a great conversation where you discuss the kind of work the company is doing, and what you’re interested in.

And then – oh poop. You’ve run out of things to talk about!

Be prepared to get the heck outta there

The easiest way to exit a conversation with a recruiter is to simply say “Well, I don’t want to take up too much of your time, but it’s been lovely talking with you. Are you accepting resumes at this time? If they haven’t already asked for your resume Do you also have a business card so we could continue our discussion?

Always always ALWAYS ask for a business card.

The hard part of talking to them in person is done, but the most important part of following up isn’t over. If they don’t have a business card, jot down their email on an extra sheet of paper in your portfolio (you should have many extra sheets or a notepad).

Do a little post-assessment

Once you leave the booth, move off to the side and write down any key points about your discussion.

Who did you speak to? What was their position? What did you talk about? Was there anything that the recruiter mentioned about the company that stood out to you? Maybe a job you hadn’t heard of?

Scribble it all down, while the conversation is still fresh! It’s easy for all the conversations to blend together after the career fair is over. Taking a few seconds now can save you a ton of embarassment later when you email a recruiter and spell their name wrong, or totally misquote part of your conversation.

Follow up like it’s no one’s business

Within 48 hours of the career fair, send everyone that you spoke with a thank you / follow-up email. I don’t care if you hated the recruiter’s guts because she was super dismissive towards you. A little courtesy goes a long way.

What to Say

For a company that you’re not interested in anymore, it’s fine to say “I enjoyed talking to you about X Company at the Your School career fair. After evaluating my long-term goals, I have decided to take my career in another direction, but I sincerely appreciate your insight and hope that we can connect in the future.”

For a company that you do like, really solidify your interest in the position.

Go back to your career fair notes, and highlight points that stood out to you to include in your email. This is especially important if they mentioned that they were looking for certain characteristics.

A nice email might be “I sincerely enjoyed our conversation about X company’s work in X company’s field that you have an interest in. I believe that my work as some work you do or class you’ve taken pertaining to the job have given me the leadership, organizational, public speaking, etc skills to excel at this job and further the excellent work of X company. Are you available for a quick phone call this week to further discuss my interest?”

They might be available, they might not. The point is, you want to you reiterate your interest in the company and show that you are dedicated to getting this job or internship.

Your recruiter might connect you with someone in the company who has your desired job or has more experience in the field. Regardless, keep showing interest and putting your name out there. You never know what connections people have, and who could end up hiring you!

So those are all my tips for an awesome career fair experience. Just remember: be friendly, highlight your skills, and ALWAYS send a follow-up email. You should be good as gold and on your way to securing your dream job.
Have y’all been to any career fairs lately? Do you have any tips for chatting with recruiters? Sound off in the comments! I know our “A College Girl’s Guide” series is pretty popular, so let me know if there are any topics that you’d love for me to cover in the coming weeks! Have an amazing week, y’all!