Before you even step foot into any career fair, make sure you’ve invested time into your resume. Don’t rush your resume. Make sure you think hard about the experiences you’ve had and what’s actually relevant to the career you’re pursuing. Then, make sure you get your resume proofread, multiple times! Luckily, at OSU there’s no shortage of resume building resources, so make sure you take advantage of them.
Ohio State posts lists of the companies that will be recruiting at each career fair, so make sure you read over the list and you are familiar with all of the companies you’d be interested in working for. (make longer)
The OSU career fair is a formal event. Guys wear suits and girls wear dresses or blazers. If you’re unsure of what to wear, feel free to reach out to us or see the image below. While walking into the career fair underdressed is not the end of the world, being underdressed can leave a bad first impression to recruiters and since there is so little time to make an impression, make sure you start off on a good note. Also, ensure your clothes fit well because a bad fitted clothes looks unprofessional and can convey laziness.
It’s easy to panic and start talking too fast so try your best to speak at a consistent pace and volume. It’s important to talk loudly since there is always so much background noise at career fairs. Ensure all of your words are easily audible to the person you are speaking to. For tips on speaking with confidence, check out this video below.
The way you stand says a lot about how comfortable and confident you feel, both of which recruiters are looking for. Make sure you stand tall and face the direction of the recruiter. A helpful tip is to make sure your feet are pointing the direction of the person you are speaking to. Also maintain eye contact throughout the conversation. Don’t let your eyes wander around the room because again, it suggests you feel uncomfortable and not confident.
Beyond just understanding what a company does, do some research on the internship programs they offer. Most companies will have an internship section on their website that outlines what you can expect by interning with them. It’s important to read these sections because that allows you to ask more thoughtful and meaningful questions. Unique questions will also help you stand out to recruiters since they repeatedly get asked the same questions.
Most companies will say they only take Juniors or Seniors. Here’s an example of a meaningful question all grade levels can ask:
I don’t have experience with [field or function] but I have worked on [something relevant]. Would that be a good fit for [open role]?
At a career fair, you are selling yourself to the recruiters you talk to. Recruiters often talk to hundreds of students each career fair so standing out is crucial. Write down a 30 second pitch about who you are and what makes you unique and practice until you can say it effortlessly from memory. Practice saying your pitch to a mirror, a friend, your dog, and/or on video so you feel comfortable and confident saying it to a recruiter.
This final step is one of the best ways to stand out and get recruiters to remember your name. After you finish speaking to a recruiter, ask them for their contact information so you can follow up in a day or two. In your follow up email, thank the recruiter for their time and ask a quick follow-up question or two. Also, mention something about the company they represent that you found particularly compelling.