|Navigating a Career Fair|
|Attending a career fair can be a frightening thought. There may be hundreds of employers and students ,leaving you to wonder what you should do. Career Services can help! Our experienced staff will guide you through the maze of people and information, ensuring your career fair is as productive as possible.
|When Should You Attend?
|The best time to attend a fair is early in the morning when the employers are fresh and alert. If you think only juniors and seniors attend career fairs,you are mistaken. All students should attend career fairs. Reasons vary, from gathering career information to looking for co-ops, internships, summer jobs, or even permanent, full-time employment. Career fairs offer insight into what employers are seeking, and many times the career fair tables are staffed by recent graduates eager to offer their unique advice.
|The Recruiters at career or jobs fairs are seldom the actual hiring managers. The recruiter's job is to review candidates and locate those who meet the basic qualifications required by the employer.
|Dress For Success
|Image is crucial at a career fair. Students wearing t-shirts and shorts are not taken as seriously as those dressed more professionally. Leave the backpack at home and opt for a briefcase instead. A briefcase gives you a mini-office from your resumes cover letters, and transcripts, and offers a cleaner look than the typical plastic career fair bag. It can also be useful for carrying the brochures you collect at each of the tables.
- Dress Slacks
- White or Blue Collared Shirt
- Dress Shoes
- Suit (Skirt or Pants)
- Closed-Toe Shoes
|Before You Arrive
- View the list of Participating Employers from the Career Services Web page. Use AggieCAREER Manager to determine the employer’s interview schedule.
- Print an adequate number of resumes on quality paper.
- Ensure that you have ample time to visit all the booths.
- Clean and press your clothing.
- Bring a pen and paper for notes. Consider designing your own business cards; this may be a professional way to leave behind something that will set you apart.
|At The Fair
- Sign in at the registration desk.
- Pick up a map of the table locations.
- Circle the employers who require you to visit them to schedule an on-campus interview (view NMSU AggieCAREER Manager for a complete list). Then identify other booths where you might wish to leave a resume or gather information.
- Walk around the room to become comfortable with the booths and their locations.
- Gather information about the employers of your choice prior to talking with a recruiter. This can be achieved by viewing their web pages in advance, or by walking by the booth and collecting literature. If the booths are quiet, you may want to work the room with a friend. Have the friend collect information for you, so you won’t be unprepared to respond to the recruiters' questions. Listen to what the recruiters ask other candidates. These same questions may be asked of you.
- Now you are ready to go out on your own, warm up by going to a few tables that are not on your top ten list. Continue this until you are ready to approach one of the employers who are scheduling campus interviews. If you have done your homework, you have determined what an employer’s needs are and how you can help fill those needs.
- The amount of time you will have with the recruiter can vary from seconds to minutes. Use the short time you have to provide the employer with a clear and succinct description of exactly what you are looking for. Establish common interests based on the information you read in advance.
|Before You Leave
- Ask recruiters, “What is the next step?”
- Request a business card of the recruiters for future correspondence.
- Extend your hand, thank them for their time, and inform the recruiters that you look forward to hearing from them in the near future. If they are one of your top choices, let them know that you have a strong interest in the company/agency and hope join the team.
Stay in touch with the employers that interest you most; keep the lines of communication open. A thank-you letter sent within a week of meeting the recruiters will help them to remember you.
- Thank them for taking the time to meet with you.
- Review key points that were discussed during your conversation.
- Explain how you would be an asset to the employer (address the keys points you discussed or from employer literature).
- Add new information that may not have been addressed during your quick meeting.
- Send a customized resume to reflect the skills you have to meet the needs of the employer.
- Check back after a few weeks to see if opportunities are available for you with their organization.
Best of luck! If you need further assistance, please visit with a staff member or sign up for workshops from Career Services, Garcia Annex, Room 224, or call 646-1631.
For more information, please contact:
New Mexico State University
P. O. Box 30001, MSC 3509
Las Cruces, NM, 88003
Roseanne Bensley, Event Coordinator, Career Services
Phone: (575) 646-1631
Fax: (575) 646-5421
Co-sponsored by the College of Engineering and Career Services