By: GreatAmerica on May 25th, 2023
Tips to Prepare for a Successful College Career Fair in 2023
College career fairs provide a great opportunity for students to network and connect with potential employers. However, to make the most out of this opportunity, it's essential to prepare well in advance. Here are a few tips to help you get ready before the career fair.
A Month Before the Fair
Know your values
Spend some time reflecting on your principles and values. This will help you narrow down the companies that align with your personal beliefs and values, making it easier to find a good fit for you.
Build your personal brand
Create an impressive personal brand by updating your LinkedIn profile, articulating your strengths and goals, and practicing your elevator pitch. An elevator pitch, in this setting, is a short story about you, covering your relevant achievements to goals you are pursuing. Try to keep your pitch around 30 seconds. Be confident in communicating your value and what you can offer to potential employers.
Spend time researching the organizations attending the career fair and seek out those that align with your values and interests. Consider location, size, values, and mission to ensure they match what you're looking for in an employer.
Consider company culture
The company culture is a significant factor in job satisfaction. Consider what kind of work culture you want, such as development opportunities, work-life balance, ethics, and genuine care for employees. Seek out companies that provide a work environment that fits your preferences.
Perfect your resume
Ensure that your resume is up-to-date, clear, and concise. Highlight your educational accomplishments, work experience, leadership skills, volunteer work, and extracurricular activities. Your resume is an essential tool to sell yourself to potential employers, so make sure it stands out.
The Day Before
Career fairs can be overwhelming, but with a little preparation, you can set yourself up for success. Here are a few tips to help you get ready the day before the fair:
Dress for success
Make sure your outfit is professional, clean, and pressed. Select neutral colors like navy blues, soft browns, whites, tans, or a little bit of black. Remember to dress to impress, not to overwhelm. If you only have black clothing, try softening it with a solid-colored shirt or scarf. Avoid revealing clothing and consider clothing with pockets for convenience.
Wear comfortable shoes
You may be surprised by how much walking and standing you'll do at the fair. Leave your stilettos at home and opt for comfortable, yet professional, shoes.
Practice relaxation techniques
Anxiety is common before a career fair, but it's important to shake the nervousness off. Try relaxation techniques such as exercise, deep breathing, or yoga. Do what works best for you to calm your nerves.
Get a good night's sleep
Make sure you get plenty of rest the night before the career fair. You'll feel refreshed and energized as you chat with prospective employers.
Day of the Career Fair
Prepare for the day
Hydrate and fuel your body. You’ll need the energy to sustain you through the fair and through the other activities you'll juggle that day.
Have essential items on hand. Print off plenty of copies of your updated and formatted resume. Don’t forget hand sanitizer, mints, lip balm and water - you’ll need these!
How to Speak with Prospective Employers:
Introduce yourself by starting with a warm smile and friendly handshake. Share your name and what brought you to that specific employer’s booth. Enjoy getting to know the representative you’re speaking with and enjoy making personal connections.
Show you know the company well
Speak about a few things that matter to you, like products from the company you've used or recent company news and awards. Spend time researching beforehand to stand out from others.
Ask thoughtful questions
Not asking any may make you seem uninvolved or uninterested. To demonstrate your interest, don't hesitate to ask questions and seek clarification.
Offer to Connect
Ask about best next steps to continue the conversation or to apply. Learn even more by visiting company FAQ pages – frequently asked questions. Some companies provide additional insight into the interview process and employee experience.
Thank you notes will never go out of style. A handwritten note or an email to the representative you spoke with at the career fair will continue to set you apart.
By following these simple preparation tips, you can increase your chances of success at your upcoming career fair and in making a positive impression on potential employers. Remember to stay calm, confident, and professional during the fair, and always follow up with employers after the event.
Seeking a Rewarding Career or Internship?
At GreatAmerica, you can make a difference, own your happiness, make your path and own your development. If these appeal to you and you’re looking for an opportunity to build a successful career, visit GreatAmerica’s careers page and browse our open opportunities!
GreatAmerica is the largest independent, family-owned national commercial equipment finance company in the U.S. and is dedicated to helping manufacturers, vendors, and dealers be more successful and keep their customers for a lifetime. GreatAmerica was established in Cedar Rapids, Iowa in 1992 and now has offices in Iowa, Georgia, Minnesota, and Illinois. In addition to financing, GreatAmerica offers innovative non-financial services to help our customers grow.