By Lynn Chang, Graduate Career Counseling Intern
On Wednesday, September 23, the Career Center hosted a career fair success panel with the following employers: IBM, Hitachi Data Systems, Enterprise, SJSU Spartan Staffing and Young’s Market. If you missed out, here are some of the top tips suggested to prepare for the upcoming career fairs.
BEFORE THE FAIR
- RESEARCH THE COMPANY. Look for what majors and positions the company is looking for through SpartaJobs. Check out the employers’ websites and read about their mission, values, and culture. Use this knowledge to show how you fit into the company. When at the fair, don’t ask questions that could be easily answered on the company website.
- PREPARE A CONVERSATION STARTER. Practice what you will say beforehand. This includes information such as your interests, experience, and goals.
- MAXIMIZE YOUR RESUME POTENTIAL. Keep your resume to one page by highlighting your strongest accomplishments and experience. Remember that your resume is not a comprehensive list, but rather a way to get you in the door. Don’t forget to include transferable skills such as teamwork, communication, and leadership. If including an objective, tailor it to the company name and/or job title.
- DRESS FOR SUCCESS. Be sure to dress in professional attire as if you were going into an interview. This shows professionalism as well as interest in the employer.
- STRATEGIZE YOUR PLAN. Prioritize which employers you want to see. If an employer you want to see has long lines, expand your opportunities by reaching out to other employers.
DURING THE FAIR
- HAVE A FIRM HANDSHAKE. First impressions can make a huge difference, so start off strong!
- KEEP EYE CONTACT. While a stare-down is certainly not the way to go, keep the employer engaged with appropriate eye contact.
- BE GENUINE AND ENGAGED. Have a good presence by maintaining a positive attitude. Though you may feel anxious or tired, show your best to the employer. Take a break if necessary.
- HIGHLIGHT PROJECTS. If you have limited experience, use projects in your conversation starter to showcase your skills.
- DON’T PUT DOWN COMPETITORS. Be sure to maintain professionalism by focusing on the employer that you are talking with.
AFTER THE FAIR
- SEND (HANDWRITTEN) THANK YOU NOTES. A thank you email is always a good follow-up, but sending a handwritten note by mail will be especially appreciated.
- CONNECT WITH RECRUITERS ON LINKEDIN. Be sure to send a targeted message when adding recruiters on LinkedIn.
- APPLY FOR QUALIFIED POSITIONS. You’re not done yet! Follow through with the required application process on SpartaJobs or the company website.
- REPLY TO REJECTION LETTERS. If some opportunities don’t work out, ask for feedback. Being graceful and appreciative can lead to future considerations for other positions.
- BUILD YOUR NETWORK. Networking can be done far beyond the fair. Find mentors to support you and talk to professors who may have personal connections to employers and industry professionals.
Using these tips can help you make your best impression at the job fairs. Good luck Spartans – the future is now in your hands!
Lynn Chang is a Career Counseling Intern at the Career Center with San Jose State University (SJSU). Lynn has helped and educated many students with their career development. Lynn is finishing her Masters in Counselor Education at SJSU in December 2015. Her previous degree was in Graphic Design in University of California, Davis.