4 Essential Tips For Making the Most of a Career Fair - Geneva College, a Christian College in Pennsylvania (PA)

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April 26, 2016

4 Essential Tips For Making the Most of a Career Fair

A college degree is a great tool for landing a job, but college delivers far more than a mere piece of paper to hang on your wall. The college career fair is one of the most useful, yet underutilized tools available to job-seeking students. Few other environments offer such easy access to top employers willing to overlook a lack of career experience.

Merely attending a college career fair is not good enough. Use the same strategic approach you have utilized for test taking and essays during your college career and you can set yourself up for your first big post-college position.  Pray, prepare and make the most of this excellent opportunity. Here are four essential strategies to implement:

1. Learn about the attending companies

The worst possible career fair approach involves aimlessly wandering around the room with no prior knowledge of which companies are in attendance and what they are looking for in prospective employees. Long before you show up at a job fair, you should obtain a list of companies in attendance and carefully research each business of interest. Check out company websites, blogs, LinkedIn pages and other social media accounts. The more you know about the employers attending the event, the greater your chances of making a favorable first impression.

2. Ask the right questions

Prior research is important, in part, because it helps you ask the right questions. Instead of basic queries covering information that could easily be looked up online, dig deeper and strive to find out as much as you can about the company's mission and its workplace culture. Then, connect any answers you receive back to your strengths as a potential employee.

3. Gather business cards and get on email lists

Be sure to snag any business cards that company representatives hand out. These will provide you with valuable contacts that you can leverage not only in your current job search, but also down the road as you pursue new opportunities. Many companies gather email addresses and social media information from interested students; if you wish to learn more about a particular job opening, don't hesitate to use this information after the career fair to re-connect.

4. Follow up as soon as possible

You may have made a good impression at the career fair, but if you fail to follow up in the next few days, it will all be for naught. Representatives meet many prospective employees at job fairs -- and they quickly forget about the vast majority of these individuals. The sooner you make your interest in a particular position known, the more likely representatives will be to remember you.

Your follow-up efforts may differ depending on how well you hit it off at the career fair, but in general, it is wise to send a thank you email. Additionally, if you haven't already completed a job application, now is the time to do so. Leverage the information you gained during the career fair to further impress prospective employers.

Geneva College offers an array of valuable opportunities -- including job fairs -- for students who desire exciting and fulfilling careers. The Career Development Center is an especially useful resource, as it helps students discern their life direction and secure rewarding positions. To learn more, visit our career development page or call (724) 847-6572. We’re here to help you find the path that works for you.