The best way to combat those pre-career fair nerves is to simply prepare yourself. Here are some helpful tips that can help you before, during, and after the whole process.
What You Should Do Before:
Do your research.
Find out who will be attending, which companies you are most interested in, and the representatives that will be attending. Research the companies you are most excited about, this can and will give you
Practice makes perfect.
If you happen to have friends who will also be attending the career fair, then get together with them and practice. Take turns asking interview questions and practice explaining why you are interested in a certain position/company. Make sure you also practice speaking about yourself as well.
Dress to impress.
How you look is how you feel. Allow yourself enough time to get ready in the morning without having to rush. Make the morning before the career fair as stress free as possible! Plan an outfit the night before and make sure that this outfit is conservative and makes you look like the professional that you are.
What You Should Do During:
Give yourself enough time when there aren’t crowds to scope out and see where the companies you are interested are, and to make a plan for what company you will speak to first. Map out where and how you will loop around to each company so you don’t end up looking lost and losing time by wandering around the venue.
Asking questions is extremely important not only for yourself, but it also shows the employers that you are interested and have done your research. Remember the questions you wrote out before the event? Now is your time to shine with these. Show them you did your research and ask them specific questions about the company. Make sure you make it clear that you are interested in THAT job for THAT company specifically.
Network, network, network.
This is what you are here for! Before you walk away from a booth, make sure to get the recruiter’s information, ask about the next steps, and thank them for their time. Add the contacts to your phone right away so you don’t forget to later!
What You Should Do After:
Thank you notes.
Stand out and sending a personalized thank you email or even a letter. Discuss what you liked and learned from your conversation with them and make sure to emphasize how much and why you would love to work for their company.
Connect on LinkedIn
Add all the contacts and people you met at the career fair. This is a refresher of who you are for the recruiters, it also shows that you really care about networking with them.
Follow up a few days or weeks after with the recruiters. Ask how they are and how the company is dong. If you are interested in working with that particular company, then send them your resume and a cover letter and let them know that you are interested in open positions. This way they will have your resume on file for when they are hiring.