The Career Fair – How Not to Look like an Idiot in 5 Easy StepsApril 28, 2008 by lisa colbert
During the campus recruiting process, companies will often make themselves available at a career fair. While these all work a little differently, the basic premise is the same: representatives from each company stand around a large room, pass out information and collect resumes. Even if you have already submitted your resume by some other means to these companies, and especially if you haven’t, it is imperative that you attend this function and generate some face time. However, this is not as easy as it sounds.
On the day of the career fair the recruiters from the companies will be inundated by you and every other accounting student in your class. You have two goals. First, you must make yourself known to the recruiters and obtain at least one business card. Second, you must manage NOT to give the wrong impression or you will risk your resume being “accidentally left behind.” Below are 5 tips to make sure that you achieve both these goals.
- Approach with Ease – Typically there is some sort of receiving line where you will wait your turn to speak to the recruiter. Don’t be nervous! Most companies send their friendliest and most inviting staff to these events, so this is not the place to be intimidated. When it is your turn, shake hands with the recruiter and greet them with a smile. Introduce yourself firmly and hand them a copy of your resume.
- Do your homework – Companies meet and greet so many students that think that they want a career in public accounting but don’t know why. You should know why a career in accounting is right for you and express that to the recruiter. Rather than simply saying “I want to be an accountant,” add some more information. For example, “I am interested in auditing public companies and gaining experience with SEC clients.” By letting them know that you understand their business, at least to some degree, you will separate yourself from those individuals who simply crave the Big 4 name on their resume. For more information to generate your own statement of intention, visit the Big 4’s websites located in the Appendix of this book. Study up on the different departments and lines of business and you will be sure to impress.
- Ask a Good Question – After showing that you have a head on your shoulders, wow them again with a great question. People love to talk about themselves, recruiters included. Ask a sincere question such as “If you could offer me one piece of advice to be successful with (Insert Company) what would it be.” This will get them talking, thereby increasing your face time, and will show them that you value their input and advice. Further, they will subconsciously feel a vested interest in your success, as they have shared their advice, and will be more likely to put in a good word for you when they submit their resumes to their boss.
- Keep it Brief – After a brief discourse it is best to be on your way. You do not want to be that guy (or girl) that stands around yapping for an hour, wasting everyone’s’ time (and there is always one). This will NOT leave a good impression. You are there to put your face to your resume and leave on a positive note. Once you’ve completed this there is no use taking the risk of saying something stupid.
- Take a Business Card – As you leave, ask the recruiter for a card. Begin building a horde of these as they will be invaluable in the future. The contacts you meet at the career fair are excellent resources to bounce questions off in the future. They are typically not the same staff you will interview with and can be a valuable source of candid advice.
By: The Big 4 Guru – For More information, please visit http://www.big4guru.com
Article courtesy of the Recruiting Blogswap, a content exchange service sponsored by CollegeRecruiter.com, a leading site for college students looking for internships and recent graduates searching entry-level jobs and other career opportunities.
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