You are here

Employer Perspective: Making the Most of Career Fair (Part 1)

If you have yet to secure a summer position, then preparing for and attending the SWE Career Fair on January 30th is a “must” on your to-do list. I know, I know—career fairs can be overwhelming, but they are also an invaluable step in the job search process. Luckily, Keith Lunsford, who works within College Recruiting for Harris, is here to offer some advice for making the most of this upcoming fair.

How can candidates stand out among the competition at career fairs?

I find if candidates have researched the company and have a little idea of what we do and the type of positions we are looking for, it really helps. These candidates can go more into themselves and what they are looking to do in their careers right out of the gate! It is nice to have a candidate hand over a clean resume (1 page, nice white space, GPA, school, and major at the top). I am not a big fan of the canned elevator speech, however the candidate will need to explain their experiences in school that pertain to the position we would be looking for.

We explain to students that they typically won’t get hired from a career fair, but that if they make a positive impression it can be a first step in the hiring process. What advice do you have for students who do not secure a next day interview?

Don’t stress it! Some companies don’t even do next days. At the very least, it was good practice and an excellent networking opportunity. Look for the person you talked with at the booths on LinkedIn and connect. You can try and further your conversation there.

If candidates are told to apply to positions online, why is it important that they attend career fairs?

It’s very important to attend career fairs for the practice, networking opportunities, and the education of the companies that are in attendance. [With] every career fair you increase your personal brand’s worth! Most hires will not come from an applicant tracking system alone. The person-to-person activity is very powerful in the hiring process.

What additional advice do you have for students preparing for an event where they engage with employers?

  1. Research the companies you are interested [in and] have an idea what they are looking for.
  2. Clean up your resume; white space is incredibly important in a 2 minute meeting!
  3. Relax, be yourself. The faces that you see from companies were in your shoes before.
  4. Have a plan. Pick 3 companies you are REALLY interested in and 2 that might be interesting and hit those 5 first.
  5. Show your projects on the resume, along with student organizations and different groups.
  6. Join student groups ahead of career fairs. They do a lot to prepare you. It also looks good on the resume if you are active in [them].

“Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.” – Albert Einstein

About the author

Guest Employer