Infinity Consulting Solutions recently attended the University of Minnesota’s job and internship fair. The event is billed as the biggest career fair in Minnesota for students and was attended by hundreds of local Minnesota job seekers. ICS recruiter Jacqui Snyder and Sales leader Sarah Drill-Mellum both attended the event and interviewed interns for staffing positions as well as for external jobs.
Of the event, Sarah Drill-Mellum said, “I was extremely impressed with the presentation skills and the research that the job seekers did in preparation for meeting with ICS. The level of interest was very high from the graduating class. It was a great to see how eager these students were to ask us detailed questions.”
In a highly competitive job market and sluggish economy, graduates find they need to show extra initiative to stand out amongst their peers and demonstrate their potential skills for certain jobs. Career Fairs are not only a great way for employers to connect and network with students, but it is also one of the most effective ways to maximize your recruiting potential.
According to ICS Recruiter, Jacqui Snyder said, “Job Fairs are a great way for both students and alumni to connect with employers for some very valuable face time. Two of the most important traits we look for in a candidate are presentation and communication skills. As a U of M graduate myself, I think the school does a great job of preparing their students on these two important factors. We were very impressed with all of the students and alumni we spoke with at the Job and Internship Fair this year.”
1. Practice Your Elevator Pitch. You need to work out one or two sentences that really capture your “brand”—the unique combination of skills and experience you bring to your job search. Too many people don’t stop to think about how they’ll describe themselves as a candidate in the first 30 seconds they have with a recruiter. And that first 30 seconds is crucial.
2. Adjust your Attitude. If you feel the job fair is a cattle call, imagine how the recruiters feel! It’s essential that you don your interview persona before setting foot in the door. You need to be positive and friendly; in your approach to every conversation, you should convey an essential message: You are a strong candidate, eager to meet recruiters who have taken time to attend the job fair, enthusiastic about your job search, and confident you will make a strong contribution to any team you join because you are professional and prepared.
3. Approach the job fair as you would an interview and use the same ICS Interview Prep Plan you would if you were only going to meet one hiring manager. You should be dressed for an interview—which will help you stand out from those who didn’t bother to dress for success. Make sure your logistics are covered, that you’ve made a transportation plan in advance so you can arrive early, and that you have a phone charger, multiple copies of your resume, and business cards.
4. Business cards! If you don’t have personal business cards, it’s worth printing them up for a job fair. Online vendors such as VistaPrint offer great deals and enable you to print large quantities at a low price. Once at the job fair, make sure you offer your business card to every recruiter you speak with, and make sure you collect their cards too so you can follow up with everyone you meet.
5. Resumes. Make sure you have sample copies of your resume available for distribution. While we often suggest that candidates customize their resumes for the specific jobs for which they are applying, the job fair is the time for the general resume, which broadly lists your skills and experience.
6. Do some research in advance. Prior to the job fair, you should contact the organizers to determine which recruiters will attend. This will enable you to prioritize your contacts and conduct some background research. Prepare for every chat with a recruiter as if it were a mini-interview so you can show you have done your research and have thought about why you would be a good fit. Research will enable you to ask better questions and make a lasting impression on the recruiters you meet.
7. Network With Everyone. Talk to people in line next to you, talk to those who conduct workshops, and of course the recruiters themselves. Make sure you have the capability to stop and take notes about conversations and information you uncover. Remember, you never know when a vital piece of information is going to fall into your lap.
8. Follow up! Just as you have approached each conversation with a recruiter as you would an interview, you should plan to write thank-you and follow-up notes to everyone you meet at a job fair. Review the notes you took during the event so you can refer to the conversation you had with each recruiter.