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How Can I Help My Student Prepare for the Career Fairs?

September is halfway over and your students are well into their new classes. Their homework is already piling up and, for some of them, going to career events is the last thing on their mind. This can be problematic for some because while students may not like school all of the time, at least they have the security of knowing what will be happening the next year. It’s easy for students to push the knowledge of college ending one day to the back of their minds, especially when they’re already busy with homework, organizations, and friends. It can be hard for future graduates to wrap their head around the fact that the lifestyle they’ve been used to for the past sixteen years is going to change drastically.

It took me most of my senior year of college to come to terms with the fact that I wouldn’t be returning the following year. At that point, I had to increase my time spent searching for jobs from maybe an hour a week, to dedicating the majority of my free-time to the job hunt. I had a very stressful couple of months, but luckily was able to get hired in August. As parents, I’m sure none of you want your students to go through that kind of stress, and that’s why encouraging them to attend our career fairs can be so important. As much as I hated my parents telling me what I should do while I was in college, I think a couple of mentions of career fairs and the job search from them would have gotten me on the right track a lot sooner.

So, what can you do to encourage your students to not only attend the career fairs, but also be prepared to be successful at landing a job or internship?

  1. Make sure your student knows about the upcoming career fairs. They may have heard about one of them in passing, but don’t realize how quickly they’re coming up. Click here to view a list of our career fairs for the 2015-2016 academic year.
  2. Encourage them to have their resume reviewed. The recruiters at the career fairs receive hundreds of resumes in a day, so a resume review can be crucial for your student’s success. The resume should stand out among the others that the recruiter will receive. Suggest that your student have their resume reviewed at the Career Center, or by one our student workers, the Career Peer Mentors. A quick review by you may also help your student by catching grammatical and spelling errors.
  3. Make sure that they have appropriate attire for a career fair. Your student should have a professional outfit ready for the day of the fair. It is a good idea to help them to find an outfit that fits well and is appropriate before the school year begins. This way they will be prepared for any interviews and career fairs that may occur and not have to worry about where to find a professional outfit at the last minute. Most recruiters believe that business casual is appropriate for career fairs.
  4. Make sure that they have a game plan for the day of the fair. Oftentimes students can be overwhelmed by the number of employers at a fair they attend. They may miss out on speaking with a company they are very interested in because they couldn’t find the booth, or simply ran out of time. We have lists of participants for each career fair on our website, and we encourage students to review them before the fair. While reviewing, your student should make a list of their top five companies. This way, when your student receives a layout of the booths during sign-in, they are able to know exactly where they need to go first.
  5. Remind your student that questions are important. Students should be prepared with a question to ask a recruiter at each of their top five companies. Encourage them to research the companies, find a topic they are interested in, and think of a question based off of that. These types of questions will make you student much more memorable than a generic, “What is the best part about working for this company?”
  6. Encourage them to ask for a business card. Students should always ask for a business card from whichever recruiter they are speaking with during the fair. This can be extremely helpful for inquiring about positions within particular companies in the future. A business card can also be used to send a thank you note to recruiters after the event. A quick, personalized note with your student’s resume attached could help them be remembered after the event.

Your students probably don’t want a reminder every hour, but an occasional push in the right direction will help them be more cognizant of the timeline and be prepared for success. Hopefully, these tips will help you to ensure that your student is primed for any career fair they may come across!

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