Things That Baffle Me at Career Fairs

I’ve been to my fair share of career fairs over the years. I’ve actually been on both sides of these events, as a student a few years ago and an employer now.

After going to a few career fairs recently and speaking to hundreds of college students, here are just a few things that I observed recently that I think most people reading this will say “Well Duh!” but sadly almost everyone will ignore what I’ve written.

1. Dress Like an Adult

I’m sure you’ve heard the saying “Dress for Success” and I can write a whole separate piece on dressing appropriately for an interview, what I’m saying is dress like you’re a real functioning member of society.

Look if you don’t have a suit or honestly just don’t feel like wearing one, I’m cool with that, but don’t show up in any piece of clothing that looks like you just took it out of the hamper for the first time in six months. Wrinkled clothing screams to an employer that you don’t care about being here. Also, unless your name is Detective Stabler and your solving especially heinous crimes do not show up with your tie loose and your top button undone. You CANNOT pull this off, so don’t even try.

I promise you don’t look this cool

GUYS READ THIS

There’s no excuse for not knowing how to tie a tie in the year 2016. 99.99999% of college kids have a smartphone. There’s wifi on pretty much everywhere you go, so click this link and learn how to properly tie a tie.

LADIES READ THIS

There is no shame in wearing a good pair of flats. If you haven’t walked in a pair of heels enough don’t try it out at a career fair. How can you expect to be focused on what’s going on and the conversation you’re having when you’re walking around like this?

2. Have a Firm Handshake

A firm handshake shows confidence. Confidence is key to literally everything you do in life. Now I’m not saying you have to break the interviewer’s hand when you meet them, but have a firm enough grip to show you’re there. It becomes a distraction when you throw a dead fish out there.

3. Have Your Resume Ready

This really means two things. First, have plenty of copies of your resume on hand. When I say plenty I mean 20 more copies than you think you need. You will run out, trust me. Even if you don’t, it doesn’t hurt to have a few copies lying around, just in case.

Second, look over your resume again the night before. It happens to so many people, you spent 3 hours putting it together and realized after you handed out 50 copies and spellcheck didn’t pick up that you misspelled your supervisor’s name. Make sure all of your experience and skills are up to date as well. Plenty of people forget to add that they learned a new program or language.

4. Have your Elevator Pitch Ready

Don’t know what an elevator pitch is? Click this link and read up! Almost everyone is going to ask you the same few questions, so have your answers ready to go. What’s your name? What’s your major? When do you graduate? What do you want to do after school? What types of positions are you looking for? Know the answers to these questions ahead of time. And have good answers. If I had a dollar for every time I asked someone what they want to do after school and they replied with “I’m not really sure yet.” or ‘I don’t know.” I wouldn’t be writing this right now, I’d be out enjoying a nice steak dinner. Even if you don’t know what you want to do, come up with an answer that doesn’t make you look like an idiot. Say something along the lines of “I’m looking for a position that will help me build my skills and find a career path I’m truly passionate about.” Every employer will see that you don’t know what you want to do, but at least you’ll look better than the kids next to you.

So take these points and go dominate your next career fair! I’m not saying these few tips will change your life, but you’ll have a leg up on 90% of everyone else.

“Remember, if you’re working on your plan B, you may as well make it your plan A.” — Chris Pratt