Come Prepared: Succeed at a Career Fair

Come Prepared: Succeed at a Career Fair

By: Haleh Pashaei
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Your past work and volunteer experiences can be empowering and give you many transferable skills and valuable life experiences. My work term at Career Services at SFU gave me even more benefits than I expected, as I took on the task of a coordinator for on-campus fairs, such as the miniBIG Fair and Round Robin Resume. Being involved in organizing the logistics for these fairs and information sessions allowed me to connect with representatives from a variety of organizations, and I learned a lot about how to professionally present oneself in an event-type setting.

Attending a career fair might sound like a simple idea to some students - you just go out there and start talking to organizations! But successfully attending a fair is not just about the quantity of people you speak with, but the quality of the conversations you have with them. It’s about making solid connections.

So, how do you go about doing this? My number one tip is to get prepared and get organized. 

Here’s how:

1)     Update your resume.

If you need advice, go to one of the resume workshops or advising sessions on campus or during a fair event. Make sure you have a resume that has no typos and is eye-catching and cohesive. Work with a career advisor and raise questions about how to tailor your resume to approach new trends in your industry.

2)     Find out which organizations are attending.

Then check out the websites of these organizations and learn as much as you can about them. You never know, they may be looking for a candidate such as yourself! Make a list of the organizations you want to visit at the fair and jot down a few things about them. Prepare questions you want to ask about the company and the positions they offer.

3)     Present yourself professionally.

Dress smart, have your resume with you, and when you introduce yourself, explain what your interest and desire is with respect to this organization. Show them you know their background, values, and mission, and share your own academic background, project involvement, and personal initiatives you have taken. If you are prepared, you will come across as confident and willing to learn, and your drive to succeed might leave a representative with a good impression.

It can sometimes be challenging to start a conversation, especially if networking is beyond your comfort zone. But don’t worry, there is help available: Make an appointment with a career advisor, try a mock interview, and do your own research on how to succeed at a career fair. Reach out for help on campus to find out about the resources that are available to you.

I encourage students to learn about the upcoming career fairs at SFU, and come prepared to at least one this Fall. Hope to see you there!

THE ANNUAL BIG FAIR IS COMING September 18, 19, 20, 21 (Burnaby & Surrey Campus)

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Posted on September 12, 2014