As mid-first semester approaches, "Sunday scaries" become more and more real, and the pressure to find a summer internship or even post-graduation job becomes more and more real, many ignore the fact that they can get their career goals in line fairly quickly: they can attend the career fair. Indiana University specifically does a great job with recruiting top-notch employers from all over the country that are school-specific, i.e., kids in The Kelley School of Business have a different career fair than the students in The Media School. Here are some tips that'll ensure that you either land that job, or summer internship:
1. Get there early.
First of all, after four to five hours of speaking to eager, motivated students, recruiters are tired. If you're the first impression for the day, they can really get to know you. Everyone else is also compared to you. This may seem like an intimidating position to be in, but frankly, you aren't compared to anyone and everyone has to live up to you. You're the first resumé, the first name the recruiters here, and the most fresh memory they'll have of the day. Not to mention, you'll also seem extremely eager. When you're done speaking with the recruiter, say "thank you" and use their name. It'll show you were paying attention.
2. Research the companies.
One of the worst things that anyone can do, is go into an interview or career fair without knowing anything about the companies they want to speak with. If you can impress a recruiter with some company information and tie it into how you'd fit in with their company culture, you'll land the job on the spot. You may even find a company that you never knew you'd be a good fit for.
3. Research recruiters and current employees.
By stalking a few LinkedIn profiles, you're likely to see what it takes to be an employee at your dream company. What vocabulary should you use when updating your resumé? Are you qualified? Do you have relevant work experience?
4. Perfect your resumé.
Have a layout. Use strong action verbs. Keep it to one page, but if you want to make it two, fill the two pages completely. Make sure you have the most relevant information at the top. Make sure you include verbiage from the job descriptions you're looking into.
5. Print out extra resumés.
You never know what types of companies you'll stumble across by accident at a career/job fair. If you only print out five resumés for companies that you're speaking with, you may not have enough for all of the recruiters or other tables you choose to stop at. Always be over prepared.
6. Look as professional as possible.
You don't necessarily have to wear the same suit as everyone else, but having a blazer and dress pants with close-toed shoes on really does make all the difference. You don't have to be generic though — have fun with it! Add a necklace or a nice belt. Be memorable.
7. Have your 30-second speech ready.
Always have a 30-second speech about yourself that you're ready to give. You may have heard of this as the "elevator speech," a speech you could give in the time it takes to ride in an elevator. When employers ask you to tell them about yourself, you'll want to do more than just list what makes you qualified for a position. Come up with a point about why you are the way you are and then bring up relevant experience. Talk about your culture, your past and what sets you apart from the others. What's important is that you present yourself as balanced. Practice it out loud beforehand.
8. Follow up.
If you don't follow up within a few days after attending by sending a quick "thank you, let me know about future opportunities" e-mail, your attendance was basically worthless. You want them to remember you, not for your resumé or application to get lost in a pile of many. Attach your resumé to that e-mail while you're at it. Connect with the recruiter on LinkedIn. Follow up again a few weeks later.