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Career Fair and Meet the Firms Event Tips

For many junior and senior accounting students September and October are busy months.  They are taking mid-term exams, working on large projects, settling into the new routine of school, and, for most, beginning their search for an internship or full-time position.

The internship and job searches will begin with on campus career fairs or a meet the firms events.  For a majority of these students attending these events will be the most stressful part of their fall.  In order to ease some of that stress here are a few career fair/meet the firms event tips.

Be Prepared
It’s never easy to walk up to a complete stranger and introduce yourself and ask them for a job, but having a short prepared speech will help.  Develop and practice a 30 to 60 second pitch that tells the recruiter who you are, what skills you have, and what your career goals are.  This will make that initial interaction go more smoothly.

Just like for any class you’ll need to do some homework before you attend the event.  Figure out what companies are going to be there and which ones you want to talk to.  Then prioritize that list and do some research into the companies.  Having a plan will make your experience more enjoyable.

While the recruiter will probably ask you most of the questions it is always good to have a few prepared questions of your own.  I recommend asking the same questions of every company, this will give you the opportunity to determine which company is best suited for your needs/goals.

Dress the Part
A career event is not only your opportunity to get to know companies that are looking for talented students, but it’s also their opportunity to begin the interview process.  So dress like you are going to an interview; don’t just swing by after class in your jeans and sweatshirt.  Dress professionally.

Also, leave the purse and briefcase at home, these will only be a hindrance to moving easily through the crowd and having your hands open for that important handshake.  I do recommend bringing with you a folder that has copies of your resume, business cards (if you have them), a pen, and a notepad so you can take notes.

Show Initiative
Remember the recruiter is there in order to meet the students, so take the initiative and walk up to them.  Be confident and friendly, maintain eye contact and have a firm handshake, and focus on that recruiter, don’t be thinking about what company you are going to next.

You’ll meet and talk to a number of different people at a career event and sometimes remembering it all can be difficult.  I recommend taking notes or jotting down some thoughts about the company as soon as you leave their table.  Taking a few seconds to write some thoughts and impressions down will help you in the long run.

Allow Plenty of Time
Going to the event should be a propriety, not an afterthought.  Take the necessary time out of your day to attend; make sure you have plenty of time to talk to all the companies you want to and not feel rushed.

Follow-up
If you spent a significant amount of time talking to a particular recruiter and you want to continue the conversation after the event, make sure to get their business card.  After the event make sure to follow-up by sending a thank you note or email.  Let them know you are still interested in the company and opportunity to work for them.  This is a great way to stand out from the crowd of individuals they meet at the event.

With these few tips your next career fair or meet the firms event will be stress free and, hopefully, enjoyable.

Amanda Dokter

Amanda Dokter

PHR, SHRM-CP at Ketel Thorstenson, LLP
Originally from the southwest suburbs of Chicago, Amanda has spent the last 10 years working in human resources in both for-profit and not-for-profit industries.
Amanda Dokter

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