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Steps to Career Fair Success

By: LaShauna Harris

Picture yourself walking into a career fair dressed to impress, resumes in hand, ready to make some new connections and suddenly you’re surrounded by hundreds of anxious students, some there to claim the very same position that you are. You ask yourself: What do I do now? How do I stand out? Well if you are like many students you may know the purpose of a career fair, but you’re somewhat unaware of what to do when you get there. No worries! There are three simple steps to career fair success. I call them the Three I’s: Investigate, Inform, and Impress.

Investigate: When preparing for a career fair one of the most important things that you can do before hand is research the companies participating in the fair and the positions being offered. Know why you’re there! From the participating companies select the ones of interest and compatibility to you and do some research. Look at the positions being offered and evaluate whether or not you’re what they’re looking for. You don’t want to land the interview and then discover the position is not for you.

Inform: At the career fair, employers will often inform you about their company and available positions, but if you’ve followed the first step then this should be old news. Use this opportunity to score some extra points and show the employers you are already informed. Know why you’re qualified! Being prepared will give you the opportunity to share some of your skills and qualifications with the recruiter. Remember to make good eye contact and to speak with confidence; if you are unsure then they will be also.

Impress: Sometimes being prepared and qualified just isn’t enough to get you the interview. The employer is going to be talking with multiple students who have equal ability and some of the same experience as you. A few may even be better qualified. Know why you’re the better choice! There are other aspects of you that may interest the employer and ultimately distinguish you from the rest.  It’s important to be professional when approaching them, but it is just as important to show some personality. You don’t want to be perceived to be the ordinary applicant; bring some energy to your discussion.

I recently attended the Experiential Learning and Part Time Job Fair and utilizing the techniques that I’ve given you here, I landed an interview on the spot. These steps are essential; and trust me, if they can work for me they can work for you too!

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1 Comment

  1. Michael Cotten

     /  February 22, 2010

    Wow – great advice LaShauna! As an adjunct professor here at UNC-Charlotte, I find your tips on “career fair preparation” very reassuring – especially for those who are unsure as to what to expect. Sounds like your positive attitude paid off – an interview on the spot – well done!


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