Well, gang, it’s that time of year again… Do you feel the buzz in the air? It’s the buzz of opportunity. Of excitement. And, also, it’s the buzz of hundreds of conversations taking place simultaneously between employers and candidates all around this great country.

This week kicks off career fair season for most of us in the campus recruiting universe. I have talked before about the importance of first impressions, and for many candidates, employer introductions take place at the career fair. As Protiviti packs up its brochures and giveaways and sets up shop on campus, I’d like to share my advice for a successful interaction when we meet, as we are bound to.

Top 5 Ways to Ensure A Successful Career Fair Meeting

5) Go Early

Let’s face it, Career Fair Day is a long one for people on both sides of the table. The earlier you are able to visit the companies that you are most interested in, the better. If the career fair takes place in the morning, it may be necessary to wait 20 minutes until the coffee kicks in for optimum conversation value (I’m only kind of joking about this). If the fair is over 4 hours or ends after 6pm, don’t show up at the tail end, as employers will be distracted from your conversation due to blistering heels and boxes that need packing. We want you to want our full attention.

4) Have a Plan

Research the companies who are attending your career fair and the types of positions they are offering. In addition, and just as important, be sure to reflect on your interests and preferences to understand how they might match up with available opportunities. It’s important to be able to tell an employer what you are interested in and why. We want to know what you are looking for and why we might be a fit for your aspirations.

3) Have Your Resume Handy…

I will ask for it if you don’t have it ready when we meet. Recruiters love nothing more than a good resume (again, only kind of joking). Your resume is the perfect souvenir from a good introductory conversation. When we look at it after you have gone, we will say “Oh, right, I remember that this was a great candidate.” You went to all of the trouble to self-edit and attend resume review sessions to create the ultimate page-long expression of your achievements. We want to take a good long look at it. (If it is more than a page long, do not get me started…)

2) … But Don’t Read Straight From Your Resume

During the actual whirlwind discussion, I will likely only glance at your resume a few times for formality’s sake. Later on, I will read through resumes so closely that I often recall an individual’s fraternity, previous internship, or my favorite, “Hobbies and Interests”, when he or she arrives for an interview. During the initial greeting, however, I am more interested in talking with you and having a conversation outside of the bullets. Which leads me to my final point…

1) Engage Us In a Conversation

I think I speak for recruiters everywhere when I say that we love to talk. We also love to listen and gather details about a potential candidate. Our happy place is being engaged in an energetic conversation with an interested (and interesting) individual. For us, the next person to visit our booth might be our next superstar hire, and we enjoy our jobs most when we are experiencing that introduction. So don’t hold back when you visit our table. We love a good chat!

See you soon!
– Bridget

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