Making the most of career fairs

I love career fairs of all kinds. In recruiting there is so much paperwork and a lot of tough calls, but the positive side includes placing cool people in great jobs, great transferable skills, and career fairs. Career fairs are one of the best parts of this.

It’s an opportunity to imagine a new future. Job hunters can picture themselves in an office in Chicago, Yosemite National Park, or, hopefully for us, a school in China. For recruiters, it gives us a chance to talk about everything we love about our positions. For me, living abroad was such a life changer it’s easier to talk to applicants about why they should do the same thing.

If you’re attending any fairs coming up, here are three things to remember:

Look alive: remember to dress well. Even if you don’t have a suit or have a million things to do before the fair, be sure to at least look fresh with a nice shirt and shoes. It’s true first impressions go a long way so think about your presentation as seriously as you would a job interview.

Be open to anything – I see so many attendees at fairs look diligently at their list of booths and only go directly to the organizations they know and planned to visit. Certainly start at your top companies and organizations because sometimes the line can be long, but don’t blow off something that catches your eye just because you haven’t heard of it. The best opportunity might be the one you haven’t heard of yet.

Enjoy yourself – It’s not often you have an entire room or gymnasium of people all lined up to speak to you. So yes, be professional and on top of your game, but smile, be genuine, and pick up some cool swag. Career fairs are a fun chance to learn and pick up all the pens you’ll need the rest of the year. You’ll have to get back to those mid terms before you know it.

See you at the fair!