This past Wednesday, I attended the Public Health, Safety and Social Services Career Fair hosted by the School of Public Health Office of Career Services. Just hearing the word “fair” can seem really intimidating. It begs the questions: What do I wear? Should I bring anything with me? Do I really need to go if I’m not an upperclassman? Everyone has been there, including me. Have no fear! Having attended a few career fairs while at IU, I have put together a checklist to help you navigate your way through career fairs.
Here are some tips I have acquired over the years to minimize the stress.
- Be prepared. It’s always a good idea to bring a folder or portfolio with copies of your resume and some pens or pencils. If you want some help with your resume before going, check out the Career Services Portal! There are so many helpful tips and opportunities to meet with advisors to get you in the best possible position.
- RESEARCH!! If you are very interested in a particular company or position being offered, know what you are talking about. People who take the time to learn about the company and are able to incorporate that information into their conversation are memorable, and in a good way.
- Just go!! I regret not attending career fairs my freshman and sophomore years. Even if you are not currently looking for a job or internship, getting the practice in and just experiencing what a career fair is really like while help you in the future. Practice is key! So, my underclassman friends, just go and give it a try!
- Don’t be shy. Be direct while introducing yourself with your name and what you are interested in. Also, be prepared with questions. Get all the information you can while you are face-to-face. Remember, a firm handshake and eye contact is key in order to show professionalism.
- Dress like you would for an interview. Research the companies that will be at the fair and dress accordingly. For me, I believe business casual and conservative looks are always a safe bet. You are making your first impression and what you wear is important. Employers notice the details and how put together you look. I also believe that less is more. Basic jewelry, clean lines, and minimal makeup allow for an overall professional look.
- Follow up. While you are at the fair, be assertive and ask the employers you speak with for the next steps in their recruitment process. Then, based on that information,
reconnect with the new contacts that you made. Showing your enthusiasm for your future and your possible future with the company makes you stand out!
I hope these tips are helpful and boost your confidence while entering the professional world. Take the time to invest in your future and as always, have faith in yourself.
Just a girl trying to get through her senior year, one cup of coffee at a time.