Career Fair Strategies That Work - Expand Below!
Four Steps to Career Fair Networking - Expand Below!
Walk-in Wednesdays! A career services staff member will be available on Wednesday afternoons, 1-5 p.m., to address quick drop-in questions. Walk-ins will not replace regular appointments; walk-ins will be limited to 15 minutes, first-come, first-served. No walk-ins February 17 (Spring Career Fair).
What You Can Expect From Us
Career Services provides assistance to Washburn University students in two major areas:
- Deciding on majors and careers, including career counseling
- Job search preparation and execution.
It is the goal of Career Services to help students learn about and develop lifelong skills, techniques, and resources that will help them with career development. Career Services is not an employment agency; we refer all qualified candidates but do not recommend individual students to employers nor individual employers to students.
Our services are free to Washburn University students. Alumni services are free as well, with the exception of fee-based advanced career assessments and access to BodJobs. Services to community members are available, with the exception of advanced career assessments; there is a fee for BodJobs. Resumes for America is an independent provider that offers free access to students; others can access their services for a fee at ResumeCompanion.com. Services to employers are free with the exception of attendance at career events.
Use the links below and on the right for more information about our services and to reach resources for your career development.
What We Do and Resources for You
Also see the Quick Links on the right.
WU Career Services Mission
The mission of Washburn University Career Services is to empower students and others to make optimal use of their knowledge, abilities, and values to successfully:
- Explore and choose academic majors and career options
- Obtain career-related skills and experience
- Develop and pursue post-graduation career plans, including graduate and professional school and employment.
Career Fair Strategies That Work: Expand for details!
Career Fair Strategies That Work
by Kathy Douglas
If you are in a Google group, are a member of a family, or have met someone at your college or university orientation who is still your friend, you already know how to network. We meet, form bonds, text, and call our friends to share good news. As a species, we are natural networkers—our survival depends on it.
Schmoozing at career fairs and events is what most people think of when defining networking—standing out in a crowd, making a lasting impression that will land you a job or internship. The reality for most mortals is, however, that although it is important to practice small talk and have good interpersonal skills, most of us do not exude extraordinarily magnetic personalities.
Working magic in a crowd, in fact, is not the most important part of networking.
Great networkers know what any career fair recruiter will tell you: At the end of the day, recruiters’ feet hurt, their voices are raw, and aside from a few exceptional interactions, they have spoken with so many individuals they don’t remember who they spoke with about what.
This is why the real art of job-search networking comes in after the actual fair—the follow up.
When advising students on strategies for two major annual career fairs (one for 1,300+ students from eight universities; one for 250 students from two universities), I emphasize four things:
- Strategically select top employers to visit: Quick Internet research provides information to help determine which employers align best with your career goals. Arrive early and visit your top choices while you (and the recruiters) are fresh.
- Ask good questions: Advanced research will help you prepare smart questions. After a quick introduction, ask a question about recruiting level or specific practice areas to be sure you are not wasting your time or theirs—Are you hiring at the master’s level? Are you interviewing for your renewables practice? If you already know what they are recruiting for, start there—“I’d like to learn more about the project areas for the policy internships.”
- After discussions, find a place to stop and take notes: Notes don’t have to be extensive. I use business cards and/or a small notebook to write the reason I want to follow up, contact information, and content of conversation.
- Follow up within a few days: Decide which leads are of interest and follow up with an e-mail that picks up where the discussion left off. If you have been directed to an online application, complete it, send the recruiter a thank you and let him or her know you applied. If you connected personally with a recruiter, but there is no immediate opportunity for you, send him or her a thank you note and a LinkedIn request. There is no need to follow up on every single contact. It’s OK to be strategic.
If you have taken good notes after a productive conversation, it is easy to follow up. And most often you are doing the recruiter a favor. The work you put in to making the recruiter’s job easier, whether it results in an immediate outcome for you or not, is a positive and generous act.
And you never know where follow-up will lead. Through courteous follow-up and strategic networking, job seekers get interviews, discover the hidden job market, and learn the inside scoop on organizations.
Kathy Douglas is the associate director in the Career Development Office, Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies. She works with a global population of dynamic graduate students interested in high-impact, solution-based environmental careers, advanced research, and thought leadership.
Courtesy of the National Association of Colleges and Employers.
Here's another article about Career Fair Success! http://www.careerealism.com/job-fair-tips-acing/
NEW! Four Steps to Career Fair Networking: Expand for details!
Four Steps to Career Fair Networking
by Kathy Douglas
Career Fair Prep
- Perfect your resume.
- Get your professional dress ready (typically business casual or business dress).
- Practice introducing yourself.
- Find out which employers are attending.
- Research the employers you want to meet with.
- Prepare specific and general questions.
What to Bring
- Business cards
- Padfolio, notepaper, and pen
- 10-15 resumes (depending on fair size)
During the Fair
- Walk around to meet employers alone—you might have friends at the fair who you check in with, but don't travel as a posse.
- Limit your give-away item collecting.
- Introduce yourself with a smile, a handshake (if recruiter offers a hand), and a few relevant details about yourself, your education/experience, and/or interest in the employer.
- Speak slowly and confidently.
- Be strategic—talk to your top three employers first, others if you have time.
- Take quick breaks between rounds of visits to freshen up and take a breather.
- Don't dominate recruiters, be mindful of other students waiting in line.
- Ask about opportunities and next steps if there are specific openings.
- Wait for cues from recruiter regarding resumes—some will be collecting them, others might direct you to follow up by e-mail, or apply online.
- Get the appropriate contact information and/or ask for a business card.
- Thank recruiters after speaking with them.
- Take notes as soon as you walk away from a table.
After the Fair
- Take a few minutes immediately after fair to sort through your notes and make a list of follow-up items.
- Follow up and thank recruiters of particular interest. (You don't have to follow up with everyone.)
- Follow up with online applications, or by sending a resume and cover letter to the appropriate contact.
- Reach out via e-mail or by telephone to reps who were not at fair, but who work with your level of education/field.
- Set up informational interviews with individuals at companies/organizations of particular interest to you, and with alumni in these organizations.
- Check in with your career office with specific questions.
Kathy Douglas is the Associate Director Career Development Office, Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies.
Courtesy of the National Association of Colleges and Employers.