On-campus recruiting is becoming the leading method used by companies to meet with students/graduates. The Career Fair can be a critical tool for job search success – whether it is used to find an internship or job, or as a tool for future networking. It creates an opportunity to broaden one’s vision regarding the latest trends and requirements in the labour market and to meet face-to-face with company representatives.
Never attend the Career Fair unprepared. Identify companies for which you would like to work, and do your research on them. By knowing more about a particular company, you will be able to communicate better and present yourself in a way that relates to the needs of the company. Prepare questions you would like to ask the employer, and think of possible questions you may be asked, as well as your answers to those questions.
Present yourself in a professional manner. Dress for success! Your overall appearance is very important, because first impressions last. Impress the employer with your verbal and non-verbal communication skills. Speak clearly, smile, look the recruiter in the eye, offer a firm handshake, and introduce yourself with confidence.
Show interest in the company – not in the free gifts the company may be offering. Sell yourself with your unique skills, qualifications and past experience, and the way in which these align with the employer’s requirements.
Take care not to monopolise a recruiter’s time and attention. Recruiters are there to find as many good candidates as possible – not only one. If a line of people forms behind you, excuse yourself and give others a chance to meet with the recruiter. If you are truly interested in the company, you could always return when the recruiter is less busy. If a recruiter is having a general conversation with another candidate, it is perfectly acceptable to join in – particularly if you plan to ask similar questions to those being discussed.
If you are interested in a particular company or a position therein, request the recruiter’s business card and leave an updated CV with the recruiter. You could also write a brief personal note to the employer and attach it to your CV as a way to distinguish yourself from other candidates not making the same effort.
If you are interested in a particular position, it is important to follow up with the company after the Career Fair. Visit the company’s website and apply directly for the position using the preferred application format. Open your cover letter by stating that you came to know about the position at the CUT Career Fair, and mention the name of the person with whom you met.
Remember that employers attend the Career Fair in order to recruit new employees, so the way in which you present yourself can either open or close the door to your employment.
Article prepared by the Careers Office
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