Professional networking is one of the most powerful tools you'll use to find your ideal job and to make valuable connections. An estimated 80% of jobs are found through networking. Networking can happen through a variety of informal and formal settings on an ongoing basis—but what is the best place for a college student to network? The Career Fair, of course! This is the place for job candidates to shine and make valuable connections.
Here are some tips and tricks that you can use to maximize the successful outcomes of your career fair experience:
- Review the list of employers that will be in attendance and make a priority list with the companies with whom you most want to connect with.
- Secure a map (available online) that shows the Career Fair layout in order for you to see where these organizations' booths are, and what path you should take from the start.
- Hone your 30-second elevator speech and practice it so it sounds natural, clear, and dynamic. Think of it as a combination of your personal brand, unique selling points and value proposition, all wrapped up into one.
- Print at least 20 copies of your resume and bring a stack of business cards that include your name, brief personal branding statement, cell, email, and LinkedIn profile.
- Have a list of questions ready to ask.
- Take the time to jot down notes about particular points you discussed with these individuals so you can send them tailored, follow up emails to them that evening. Consider sending personalized LinkedIn connection requests as well.
Now you're ready to get out there and network, Seawolves!