Research Companies – Learn in advance what companies/organizations will be in attendance. Visit the employer websites and read current business articles to learn more about their products, services, mission, and organizational structure. Start to think about insightful questions you want to ask company representatives.
Prepare Your Resume –Prior to the fair, make sure to have your resume reviewed by an Advisor from the Center for Career Development in S342. He/she will critique it and help make suggestions and improvements. Getting your resume reviewed prior to the career fair is extremely important. Bring multiple copies of your resume to the fair.
Set Goals – Establish specific goals you have for the career fair (e.g. hand out X number of resumes, introduce yourself to representatives of companies A, B, and C).
Practice Your “Introduction Speech” – Practice making eye contact and using a firm handshake. Rehearse a brief introduction that includes your name, major, school, relevant skills and qualifications, interest in the company, and type of job you are seeking.
Be Positive– Be optimistic, have realistic expectations, and stay open-minded. Attending career fairs are an excellent way to network for a job. Whether or not they lead directly to a job offer, they will provide opportunities to build relationships with employers and learn about positions that are out there.
Present a Professional Appearance – Make a good impression to be taken seriously. Dress in conservative and professional business attire (no low-cut shirts, short skirts, no jeans, t-shirts, sneakers). Make sure clothes are ironed. Do not wear too much cologne, perfume, make-up, or jewelry.
Bring Multiple Copies of Your Resume – Hand them out to employers. Also, bring a pad of paper and folder/briefcase for carrying all of the information you have collected.
Be Strategic – Make an “A” list (priorities/must meet) and a “B” list (nice to meet if time permits) of companies. Go to a few “B” list employers first to practice your introduction and questions. When you’re warmed up and feel confident, visit your “A” list employers. Check out the companies without a lot of people lined up, as well those that are popular.
Approach Representatives Effectively –Approach representatives politely and introduce yourself, “Hello my name is ______. I am a (freshman/sophomore…etc), majoring in ________. My experience includes _______. I am interested in hearing about any opportunities you may have in _____________ at your company.”
* Do not approach employers with gum or candy in your mouth.
Gather Information/ Ask Questions – Pick up business cards and company literature for future reference. Do not be afraid to ask the representatives questions! Avoid taking lots of pens, toys and prizes.
Be Professional – Smile, be polite, patient, and professional with everyone you meet. Recruiters are watching and listening. When you are finished speaking with a representative, ask for a business card, shake his/her hand, and thank him/her for his/her time.
Follow Through – Send a thank you note along with a cover letter and a targeted resume to contacts you met (or ones you did not get the chance to meet). Call them about 10 business days later to confirm that they received your information and to offer any additional questions they may have about your qualifications.
Apply Online – Employers may ask you to upload your resume on the career section of their website. Even if not asked to do so, you should see if this is an option and follow through, as recruiters use uploaded resumes when sourcing candidates. You may also be asked to complete an on-line application; if so, follow instructions to do so accurately and in a timely fashion.
An “Elevator Pitch” is a brief description of your professional identity. It can be used in networking situations when you are first meeting people and need to introduce yourself and summarize your career goals and qualifications. It can also be modified for use in cover letters and interviews.
International students interested in working on and off campus can receive more information at http://www.bmcc.cuny.edu/admissions/applyinfo-international.jsp
Many qualified international students work with the CUNY 311 Project. CUNY 311 Representatives will be present at the career fair to answer any questions. Click here for more information
There is no reason you can’t go to a career fair if you are not looking for a job or an internship. Make the most out of the career fair by networking and gaining information for future employment opportunities.
Read about the importance of networking (PDF)
Career Fair Myth 1: I do not need to be in professional attire.
Recruiters will be speaking with several students in a short, time span. Those who are prepared-wearing proper attire, carrying a professional resume, and networking with others- are seriously considered as potential candidates. Your appearance tells a recruiter that you are professional, ready to take on the opportunity and represent their company!
Career Fair Myth 2: I do not belong at a Career Fair because I do not know what I want to do.
Career Fairs are a great time to explore your interests; they are a chance for you to meet new people, talk with representatives from companies/organizations, and begin building your network. This is a great opportunity for you to explore careers to help you decide what you want to do in the future and to practice your interviewing and networking skills!
Career Fair Myth 3: The companies attending do not typically hire my major.
This is one of the largest misconceptions about career fairs. The thought that companies/organizations hire for specific majors or careers is not true. The skills you develop in all of your majors can be applicable to your future career. Skills such as critical thinking, analysis, writing, and communication skills can be developed in many different fields of study. Many companies will also train you on the specific duties that you will perform for their organization. They are coming to BMCC to meet you! They may be looking to fill a variety of different positions across multiple departments/offices. Please do not assume that they only hire specific majors! Research the company ahead of time and remember to review their company/organization web site as well as their LinkedIn Profile.
Career Fair Myth 4: I do not need an internship for my career.
Employers increasingly want to see experience in the new college graduates they hire. For instance, 95 percent of employers said candidate experience is something they consider in making hiring decisions according to an annual survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE). Consider doing an internship to have an edge over other students who have not done one.
Career Fair Myth 5: I am graduating in May. I have plenty of time to look for a job.
Not really! It can take between 4 to 6 months or more to find a full-time position and looking for a part-time position can also be challenging especially in today’s economy. Please do not wait! Start your job or internship search now and start connecting with employers. This is a valuable way to ask for informational interviews which may lead to meeting more people and could help you get a job offer.
Career Fair Myth 6: I do not have time to prepare and I do not even know what I would say to an employer!
Come to a Career Fair Preparation Workshop to help you prepare! Workshops will also be held during the evening to help you prepare.
Career Fair Myth 7: I am overwhelmed by so many companies and/or organizations that will be attending the Career Fair. Do I have to visit every employer table?
No, you do not need to visit each and every employer table. Create an action plan. Research the companies to find out if they are a fit for your career goals. Start out by reviewing the list of employers. Then, make a list of your top 10 employers. Have 15-20 resumes on hand and make a plan to visit your top choices first. As you pass by other employer tables, listen to the conversations taking place and see if there is something that may be interesting to you. Remember do not ask employers what their companies/organizations “do” and do not stand in long lines. Keep an eye on the busy employer tables and return when the line is shorter. Please note additional employers will be added to the list of employers as they continue to register to attend the Spring 2015 Career Fair.