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The Career Fair

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Have you ever been to a career fair? It can be an overwhelming experience.

First of all, there are hundreds of people, all looking for an internship/full time job, dozens of potential employers all coming together in a competitive atmosphere.

It is an environment that can scare many, but if you are able to thrive in this environment, you’ll be setting yourself apart from the rest. So how do you differentiate yourself from the rest of the very similar candidates in the room?

Here are some suggestions based on my own ideas and also those of my coworkers. We came up with some practical tips to help ensure that your next career fair experience is a successful one:

  • Learn how to develop a conversation. As a recruiter I am often surprised by how many people come up and shake my hand and then immediately ask how to apply for an internship. Rather than jump into a job request, take a step back. Start by introducing yourself and discussing your current situation (school, graduation year, previous internships). Then if there is mutual interest, ask what types of opportunities the organization is offering.
  • Assume that the recruiter will be looking beyond the grades.  Put yourself in the shoes of the recruiter. What would you want to know before you start reading a resume from a potential employee?  As someone seeking a job, consider what kind of an impression you are making as you introduce yourself. Tell the recruiter about who you are outside of the classroom. Recruiters are usually interested in hearing about the extra-curricular activities, athletic teams and different clubs that future employees participate in.  All of your different experiences taken together can help paint a picture of you as an interesting and involved individual. This can reinforce the concept that you would make an excellent candidate for the position.
  • Do your homework and learn about the organization. Every meaningful conversation is a two way street. The recruiter has questions for you but you also should have questions for them.  Asking thoughtful questions about the organization, its culture and what types of clients they serve goes a long way to demonstrate your seriousness and desire to secure a job at the firm. The fact that you’ve clearly done your research and show a real interest in being a part of the team is another way of differentiating yourself.

Being a representative for SobelCo at these events is one of the aspects of my job I enjoy most. While meeting new people I have the opportunity to help identify our newest team members. SobelCo will have representatives at several career fairs coming up and I will personally be at the NJCPA career fair next week, October 1st.

Best of luck!

Here is a link for upcoming events:

Joseph Hunt, SobelCo