The season of job fairs has rolled around, and dozens of employers are crowded into a room as job seekers are set free. Greetings are being exchanged, resumes are flying, and eager candidates are hustling their way to the front of the tables. Just like in the wild, only the strong will survive. Cindy Billington, associate director of the MBA Career Education and Advising at Texas A&M University‘s Mays Business School, shares three tips on how to conquer a career fair with confidence:
Apply ahead of time: Research companies who will be at a career fair. Find out whether they posted a job opening ahead of time so you will already know what position they are recruiting for. Any time you can already have the job application completed and have your resume tweaked for that position, you can maximize the success of your initial conversation with that potential employer.
Have a game plan: Create a list of eight to 10 companies, and outline what you’re going to say. By doing this, you know that you’re going to have 8 to 10 great conversations. Be able to articulate your skills, strengths and experiences and how you can add value to the position. If there isn’t a position that you’re looking for, take this time to gather information. Also be prepared to talk to individuals who might not be friendly or knowledgeable. If this happens, contact the company directly to find more information. At least you will have the name of the person whom you can use as your contact.
Perfect your elevator pitch: Your elevator pitch is similar to a sales conversation. It has 3 parts: (1) Introduce yourself, (2) Tell why you’re interested and (3 )Explain how you connect with their organization. Grab their attention and then close the deal. Don’t forget to balance humility and confidence when speaking. And keep it quick and concise, but not rushed. Being humble, yet confident, shows that you have the proper skill set, but you are willing to learn more. That’s what companies look for and those are the keys to success.