Career Participation Tips
Tory Johnson, Founder/CEO of Women For Hire, which
produces 20 career fair events annually in 10 major markets, including
Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, New York,
San Diego, Tampa and Washington, D.C., shares her tips for successful
attending a career fair.
Career Fair Participation Tips
- Nothing's more important than doing your
homework. Don't even think about walking into a career fair
unprepared. This means knowing the organizations that you're
interested in. There's so much information available at our
fingertips that it's simply unacceptable to skip the
research process. It doesn't take much effort to check out a
corporate website, especially since the pay-off can be quite
- Being well versed in a company's background,
environment and mission may very well go a long way in demonstrating
enthusiasm to a recruiter.
Likewise, knowing nothing about a company and
admitting that you have absolutely no idea what your
strengths and interests are is a prescription for disaster.
- Looking, speaking and acting
professionally help to make a terrific first impression.
Something as simple as a smile--even if you're kept waiting
longer than you'd like--goes a long way.
- Time spent at a career fair may go down
the tubes if you're not prepared to follow-up effectively.
Even though proper follow-up procedures usually vary among
interviewers and companies, there are a few universally
acceptable things to keep in mind.
- If it's a huge, bureaucratic firm you're
interested in, the recruiter would probably appreciate a
note--not a phone call--within a week. If you are given a
business card that includes an e-mail address, it's totally
acceptable to thank the interviewer electronically if you'd
like. At the end of any interview or even a mini discussion,
be sure to ask what the next steps are. Ask if the
interviewer minds if you follow up by phone or email and try
to establish a time frame in which to do so.
- Keep in mind that all is not lost if you
don't land a job. Career fairs also offer great practice in
perfecting networking and interviewing skills. Talk to as
many people as you can; never underestimate the value of
face time with recruiters from leading companies. And, just
as importantly, listen to them, too. Pay attention to
the questions you're being asked and to the kind of
information they're offering. It's impossible to leave
without something of value.