Written by: Alejandra Madrid, a third-semester college student pursuing a Certificate in Global Business Management at Mohawk College.
Career fairs are like a vibrant marketplace where companies proudly showcase their business, employee experience, and open positions. Picture a bustling carnival of career possibilities! Yet, job fairs can be fast-paced, overwhelming, and busy. Rather than succumbing to the pressure of navigating from booth to booth, create your own roadmap to success. With some preparation, you will feel more in control, which makes your confidence shine through - this is sure to catch the eyes of potential employers! The Student and Graduate Employment team at Mohawk College hosts many career fairs to support students and alumni – visit Career Connect and create your free account to prepare, search, and secure a great career.
Here is your guide to rocking that next career fair:
What to do before the event
- Research Participating Companies: Obtain a list of all the employers attending the career fair and research the companies. You can focus more on the ones that you really want to apply to. This part of preparation is crucial to success when speaking with recruiters. Knowing who they are and what they do will demonstrate your genuine interest during conversations.
- Resume Ready: Have your resume written, proofed, and printed. Remember to bring plenty of copies, as you will be connecting with many employers. For further guidance, visit How to Write a Resume. Alternatively, you can schedule a 1:1 session with a career advisor via the CareerReady Portal for personalized guidance.
- Elevator Pitch Practice Party: Create a 30 – 60 seconds introduction about yourself. Be sure to include a basic intro about you, your skills, and your passions. For more tips, visit How to Create the Perfect Elevator Pitch.
- Keep reasonable expectations: Though there is no guarantee of securing an offer during a career fair, positive outcomes can be new contacts in your network, an invitation to apply for a position, a better sense of what opportunities are currently available, and greater confidence in speaking with employer representatives.
During the event
- Dress to impress: Dress professionally for your industry of interest. If you need support getting career-ready clothing items, visit the MSA Career Closet.
- Get there early, before it gets busy!
- Networking with a side of Confidence: Get the career fair map and walk to those booths with a grin and a confident handshake. Visit companies most relevant to your career interests first.
- Questions? Fire Away: Prepare those questions that will make recruiters go, “Wow, this person is seriously interested”.
- Take Notes: Collect more than free stuff – write down notes that will assist you in remembering who’s who and important details to include in your follow-up emails. Ask for business cards from representatives.
After the Fair
- Follow-up Magic: Apply to positions promptly and send follow-up emails to your new connections. Thank them for the chat, express your excitement, and keep the momentum rolling.
- Reflect and Learn: You did it! Celebrate your courage and hard work. Reflect on your lessons learned and what you would do differently next time.
Remember, career fairs are your chance to strengthen your network and job prospects. They are a great place to build relationships, learn about different companies, and gain valuable insights into the job market. Good luck with making those important connections!