By Nick Ferraro, Career Advisor, Career and Professional Development Services, ASU
Career Fairs can be intimidating if you haven’t been to one before, but don’t let this stop you from attending! They are a great opportunity to find that ideal job or internship you have been looking for while also growing your professional network. Let’s settle some of your thoughts and bust any myths about career fairs, and don’t forget – a list of all fairs occuring at ASU (virtual and in-person) can be found on Handshake!
Career Fairs are just for seniors or Alumni.
Employers attending career fairs are often offering a mix of internship and full-time opportunities. To get yourself prepared to attend these fairs when you are actively looking for an internship or full-time job, consider attending as a freshman or sophomore. You can scope out the fair, see how others are dressed, and listen into the conversations that are happening to get a sense of what you will experience when you attend the next time. This is also a great time to start early conversations with industry professionals that are of interest to you and to expand relationships within that organization. A quick conversation today could lead to an amazing internship a few months from now!
I won’t stand out because there are so many people at the Career Fair.
While there are many students and alumni at Career Fairs, here are some tips to help you stand out from the crowd:
Show that you have done research. Employers are often impressed when you highlight what you know about the organization. Familiarize yourself with the company’s mission, vision and goals. Thoroughly read the website and take note of clients they work with, as well as recent accomplishments.
Dress professionally! For women, dress comfortable, including shoes that have a lower heel, a blazer and/or a blouse, and a knee-high skirt or slacks. For men, a suit jacket, shirt and tie, slacks and appropriate dress shoes will ensure you make a great first impression.
Practice your Powerful Introduction! This is a quick and simple way to highlight yourself during that initial meeting with an employer. A powerful introduction includes your name, professional interests, experience, and strengths. Practice can help make your first meeting with a potential employer go smoothly.
I can just “stop by” the Career Fair and be fine.
With all of the activities and other commitments you have, preparing for a career fair can seem daunting. Why not just show up and see what happens, right?
Wrong! If you want to get the most out of a career fair, it is best to prepare as much as you can. This includes dressing professionally, having a plan to talk with targeted companies of interest, and bringing the right handouts for each organization. Here are some ways to prepare:
Check Handshake, ASU’s online platform for all things career and professional development, to see what organizations will be attending in order to plan your time at the fair.
Attend a resume building appointment or workshop to help you learn how to tailor your resume to each organization.
Show up early to the Career Fair so that you have a chance to walk through and mentally prepare for interacting with employers. Hint: One good technique is to talk to different companies before meeting with your choice employers in order to practice your Powerful Introduction.
Finally, the key to being successful at any career event is to have fun, be yourself and be professional. Follow these simple suggestions, and you will be navigating the next Career Fair like a pro.