Prior to joining Rider, I spent 16 years in various college recruiting roles for companies like PricewaterhouseCoopers, Accenture and Bank of America. During that time, I attended hundreds of career fairs. I believe too many students miss a great opportunity to cultivate their potential career at these fairs.
There are several reasons for this, the most important being lack of preparation. Students should not expect to walk into a career fair, shake a few hands, pass out a few résumés and walk out with scheduled interviews or job offers. A career fair should not be an event that you just pass through to see what you can find. It should be an event that you thoughtfully prepare for. You should review the list of companies that will be attending — which you can do by contacting Career Services at extension 5058 — select your target companies, then research those companies and the positions they are looking to fill.
Now that you have identified your target companies and positions, it’s best to develop your introductory statement. This is commonly referred to as your elevator pitch — “Hello, my name is (… ) and I am interested in the (… ) position with your company because (… ).” It is in that last part of the statement that you need to devote time and energy to come up with something quick, concise and compelling. You want to capture the recruiter’s attention and generate enough interest so that he or she will want to interview you to learn more about you. Then, like any good salesperson, close the conversation by “asking for the sale” with a nice open-ended question: “How can I secure a meeting with you and your team to discuss how I can contribute to the success of your organization?”
In addition to this preparation, you have to come prepared to impress. Everything about you must be A+, from your professional dress to your hair and personal grooming and, of course, your résumés. (Hint: Bring a lot of them and make sure you have them reviewed by Career Services in advance.) The basic rule to remember when it comes to dress is, you do not want to wear something that will distract the recruiter and cause him or her to remember you in a less than positive light. That means no strange piercings — leave the second, third and fourth earrings, the nose, tongue and lip rings back in the dorm — and no wild or flashy jewelry. Cover your tattoos and do not dress in a way that will attract negative attention or distract the recruiter from focusing on the skills and attributes that you offer.
Whatever you do, please do not walk up to the recruiter and say, “Tell me about your company.” There is a very good chance you will hear: “We have quite a bit of information on our website. You should go check it out.”
The Office of Career Services is here to help you prepare and get the most out of the event. Please stop by and see us. We wish you the best of luck as you prepare for life after Rider.
Director of Career Services
Printed in the 10/30/13 edition.