The University Career Center is proud to present a Peer to Peer perspective on Career Fair Prep from Fellow Roadrunner Tyler Werland.
The Career Fair… It’s Kind of Like Dating
3 Tips for Success at the Career Fair
The career fair is a wonderful place filled with tremendous opportunity from a variety of employers, but also is a place filled with eager students such as yourself. It’s easy to get intimidated and overwhelmed by all the chaos. I’d say it’s almost more nerve racking talking to a future employer than it is talking to your crush. Yet having a successful career fair is possible, especially if you are prepared.
Two years ago, at my first career fair, I wasn’t prepared. I was so nervous that my shirt was untucked in the back, and my tie was at a funky angle and I didn’t even notice until running into a friend who pointed it out. I only talked to a few employers there, and spent maybe 30 seconds at each table I talked to. The conversations I had went something along the lines of “Hi I’m Tyler, I’m studying Business Management, here is my resume, does your company offer internships?” Let’s just say those conversations didn’t go so well. It made sense why none of the employers seemed interested and why I didn’t get any call backs. Bummer.
Learned my lessons from my bad experience, and I’ve had much better success at career fairs since then.
Here are my tips and advice:
First Impressions are Key – Show Interest
- Think about when you are getting ready for a date. You want to dress sharply, no one ever wants to look sloppy. Now during the date you’ll want to take the time to get to know the person. If you make it all about you, you most likely won’t get that second date. Same goes for the career fair. You’ll want to be dressed to impress, so dress business professional or business casual at minimum. Have questions ready to ask for the recruiters that are specific to the company or the positions they offer. Do your research on the company before! It’s just like stalking someone’s Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook. Common, we’ve all been there, but seriously, it’s important for you to know about the company, their vision, mission statement, company culture, etc. Additionally, you should have an idea on what positions are available and what you are interested in. I’d say research on about 5-10 companies that you are really interested in and focus on those. It isn’t feasible to talk to every single employer, also it doesn’t look good if you are jumping from table to table.
Let Your Passion Sell – Be Genuine
- When you’re on a date, your date can most likely sense when you are lying or just telling them what they want to hear. If you’re that type of person, or have a habit of doing that, don’t be that person at the career fair. It’s always best to just be yourself, even in a professional environment. Recruiters can catch if your elevator pitch is completely scripted because you probably sound like a robot. Let your elevator pitch be natural, don’t be afraid to begin with a question or let your elevator pitch ease into a question. Practice your pitch before the fair, but don’t memorize, just get comfortable with your main points. Lastly, show your excitement and overall interest. Passion sells!! I guarantee, the more you show genuine interest in them, the more they’ll remember you and be interested in you. You want to conclude with a thank you, and ask for a business card.
Show You’re Still Interested – Follow Up
- Our generation is the worst at “texting first”. I’m sure numerous potential couples never happened because neither side wanted to text the other first. Well, regarding the employers and the career fair, suck up your pride because you are going to be a text first person in this situation. Obviously, you will not be texting the employer, but you should be sending them a follow-up email. You do not need to do this for employers you didn’t like or that didn’t have opportunities for you, but this is a must for the employers you are interested in. The email should be very professional, yet personal as you should reference specifics from the conversation you had with the recruiter. This is also a good time to ask any more questions you may have, and another opportunity for you to say thank you.
Thanks to the last two career fairs I’ve attended I’ve landed internships with two major retail operators, H-E-B and Target Corporation. As an undergraduate studying business management, both experiences have had a significant impact on my leadership abilities and personal growth. This summer at Target as an Executive Store intern I primarily worked in the logistics department, but had the opportunity to shadow leaders in the store, as well as lead a team on my own.
I hope you find these tips helpful and best of luck at the Career Fair on Tuesday, September 19th! -Tyler Werland
(Tyler Werland is a Senior in the Honors College at the University of Texas at San Antonio. He is pursuing a Bachelors degree in Business Management and has a passion for leading people and bringing the best out of individuals. He has and continues to hold multiple leadership positions at UTSA with various student organizations and was the event coordinator for the first ever St. Baldrick’s Day at UTSA, an event which raised over $10,000 for childhood cancer research. He has completed Internships with H-E-B, The Alamo, and is currently interning at Target Corporations as an Executive Store intern. He is highly motivated, hard working, and always striving for excellence. “I hope to leave a positive impact on those I lead.”) -Tyler Werland