Career Fair Success Strategies from The Office of Career Services Ohio Northern University Student Affairs Division Reasons to Attend Career Fairs • Effective and efficient way for recruiters and students to connect and discuss internship and career opportunities • Learn about positions available at a variety of organizations • Explore career fields and opportunities • Share and discuss your resume and qualifications with a recruiter, which may lead to an interview • Discover new ways to use your academic program • Practice interviewing skills • Develop a network of career contacts Preparation: Assuring Career Fair Success Clarify goals Determine what you hope to get out of the career fair • Do you want an internship or full-time employment? • Do you want a chance to meet representatives from a particular company? • Do you want to network? • Do you want to expand your options related to companies and different types of positions? The Office of Career Services is here to help you. The key to career fair success is preparation. • Create a resume that will reflect your skills and abilities. Have it critiqued by a professional Career Advisor from the Office of Career Services. Print plenty of copies of your resume on quality paper to take to the career fair. • If possible, create a professional looking business card which includes your name, contact information, and major. Do Your Research • Review the Employer Book on Career Services website in advance. • Identify organizations you want to meet. • Use the internet to Google, or use other search engines, research the companies and read articles written about them. There are various internet tools you can use. • Prepare questions based on your research. • Do not ask questions that can easily be answered by looking at the company’s website. Prepare a 30-60 second self-introduction • Much like a commercial, it is your way to market yourself. Your introduction should include: – Your Name – Major – Degree – Level (senior, junior, sophomore) – GPA if above 3.0 – Graduation date – Position you are seeking and career objectives – Relevant experience and skills (internships, presentations, research, leadership activities) that demonstrates your strengths – Why the organization interests you, and why you are a good fit – End by asking a question based on your research of their organization Key: Practice, Practice, Practice! Hello, I’m … One of the Keys to Success is Practice Practice • Practice your handshake, eye contact, and non-verbal responses • Create and practice, practice, practice your self-introduction • Prepare questions to ask the representatives and practice asking the questions out loud Look for opportunities in unexpected places. Be open-minded • Don’t limit yourself to speaking only with representatives from companies you think you know something about – be open-minded, explore all options. • Be open to a variety of fields that will allow you to utilize your skills, interests and knowledge. You will be Dress for Success given a name tag which should be worn • Wear professional clothing: on the right side to provide - Suits for men an easy sight- A tailored dark suit is preferable (navy, brown, black, or gray) line to your A light colored shirt and tie Dress socks that match the suit and shoes that are polished name when Neatly trimmed facial hair, no stubble shaking hands - Suits with skirts or pants for women A tailored suit or dress with conservative length hemline – two inches above the knee or longer All accessories should be conservative (nail polish, make-up, jewelry, etc.)—Don’t over accessorize Neutral pantyhose with closed-toe shoes Prior to the day of the event, put on everything you will wear to make sure fit is correct and nothing needs mending or ironing What to Bring With You • Carry an attractive, professional portfolio • Resumes on quality paper, enough for all possible recruiter contacts • Professionally attractive pen • Professional looking business card Use the portfolio or briefcase to keep your resume neat and to put material you receive from companies. What not to wear or bring • Cell phones or iPods, turned off and not visible • Jeans, athletic apparel, hats • Open-toe shoes • Cologne or perfume (could trigger allergic reactions in the recruiter or be distracting) • Stow book bags and coats — Do not carry them into the fair • Facial piercings or earrings on men Please note, if you are not professionally dressed, you will not be admitted into the Career Fair You will be expected to ask questions. ?? Questions to Ask Employers ?? Sample questions: • What kinds of positions exist within your company for new college graduates? • What goals does your company have for this year and beyond? • How many employees are in my area of interest (which is…)? • Does your company hire on a continual basis or just at certain times of the year? • Can you describe the timeline of the hiring process? • What does your company consider the 5 most important qualities in an employee? • Are graduate degrees important? If so, in what areas? • What courses do you suggest in order to be a successful candidate? • What personality traits are important for success in your company? • As a new employee, what can I expect to be doing in a few years from now? • What made you choose this company? • How long have you been with the company? • What has your company accomplished of which you are especially proud? • For how many years does the average employee stay with the company? • What percent of applicants are eventually hired? • What is the retention rate in the company? Tips for Maximizing Career Fairs • Arrive at the beginning of the fair, if possible. Employers set up and are eager to start but fewer students arrive then. Employers tend to remember those they meet first. • Prioritize your time by first approaching companies you most wish to speak with. • But… if you’re nervous, first approach an employer you’re less interested in to pitch your intro – consider this your warm-up. • Take the initiative and engage in meaningful conversations with representatives. If you have prepared by doing your research and practicing, this will be easy for you, you will simply market yourself with your 30-60 second introduction. • Offer your resume and be prepared to answer commonly asked questions such as "What do you have to offer our company?" or "What are your best work attributes?‖ • Ask appropriate questions based on your research of the organization. • Ask everyone you speak with for their business card (you’ll need these for the thank you notes you will write). -- This is also networking and you now have contacts at this organization. • Immediately after speaking (or interviewing) with recruiters, write notes on their business card or in notebook regarding points made in your discussion. • Do not congregate with friends and walk around in groups. Take Advantage of First Impressions Body language often can speak louder • Make eye contact, smile. • Confidently introduce yourself, stating your name clearly, while extending your hand for a firm handshake. than the spoken word. • Make a lasting first impression by generating positive energy. • Communication is critical. Listen carefully to what the representative has to say. • Avoid using filler words such as, ―um,‖ ―like,‖ ―ya know.‖ • Show confidence in your voice. The room will be noisy, and if they can’t hear you they won’t remember you. • Be articulate and sell yourself. • Do not look around when talking or being spoken to. • Do not fidget or play with your hair. • Do not rock from side to side. • Do not chew gum. • Stay focused. The Importance of a Firm Handshake Your handshake will tell the recruiter a lot about you. It’s important to have a firm, assertive handshake that exhibits confidence About handshaking: Do you know the proper way to •Immediately upon meeting someone offer a firm handshake. shake hands? Extend your right hand and shake •As you shake hands, make eye contact and listen carefully to their hands so that the ―web‖ between name. Repeating their name will also help you remember it. your thumb and index finger meet •A limp handshake can be interpreted as weakness, indecisiveness or a firmly with the other person’s. You lack of enthusiasm. will be grasping their palm, not • A tight, vice-like handshake may unintentionally signal too much their finger tips. aggressiveness. •Shake hands firmly, but not so firmly that you hurt the other person’s hand. •Two-handed handshakes, though they exhibit warmth, are not considered appropriate in business situations. •A squeeze that lasts too long can say, ―I’m in charge.‖ •A damp palm can indicate nervousness. •At the conclusion of your interview or conversation, extend your hand to shake as you thank the interviewer for their time. Career Fair Follow-Up The Thank You Letter is Very Important • E-mail or hand-write a thank you note to everyone you met within 24 hours of the event. • Thank them for taking time to talk with you (or interview you) and introducing you to their company • Restate your interest and qualifications • Reiterate points made during your discussion or interview and include additional points you want to make • Include your resume • Remain in contact with the organization as long as the interviewer says the position is open. Sample Thank You Letter Illustrating format and content (1 inch margin minimum) Your Street Address City, State Zip Code Date (2 spaces) Mr. or Ms. (use first and last name) Title Name of Organization Street Address City, State Zip Code (2 spaces) Dear Mr./Ms. last name: (do not include first name) (1 space; the letter should be double-spaced between paragraphs and not indented.) OPENING PARAGRAPH Thank the recruiter for their time in talking with you (or interviewing you) at (name and location of career fair, and date) and consideration of you as a candidate for (name position if known, or internship, etc). (1 space) 2nd PARAGRAPH Restate points that were covered in the discussion or interview. Explain why you believe your skills, abilities, talents, and interests can meet the needs of the recruiter’s organization. (1 space) 3rd PARAGRAPH Mention relative points that you did not cover during the discussion or interview due to time, anxiety, etc. Respond with additional details to any question which you felt that the answer was not complete enough. Also respond to anything else for which the recruiter needed additional information from you (i.e. what date you can start, your experience). (1 space) CLOSING PARAGRAPH Have an appropriate closing designed to facilitate a favorable reply. Reiterate your interest and appreciation in their consideration of you as a candidate. Provide your contact information (e-mail and/or cell phone number.) (2 spaces) Sincerely yours, (Allow 4 spaces for your signature; sign your name with a blue ball-point pen.) Type full name (2 spaces) Enclosure: (list all enclosures) include resume and anything else requested by the recruiter or that you feel would be helpful Concerning Career Fairs, such as other things in life – you Follow these tips for get out of it what you put into it. Do your best . a successful career fair Remember •Register for the career fair on Symplicity •Make an appointment with a Career Services career advisor to review your resume If you would like additional information or assistance in preparing for career fairs, contact the Office of Career Services 419-772-2145 firstname.lastname@example.org www.onu.edu/careers/ Contacting the Office of Career Services Hours of Operation Monday – Friday 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. www.onu.edu/career email@example.com (419) 772-2145 The Office of Career Services, Student Affairs Division, is located on the second floor of McIntosh.