Written by Andrew Morin
After attending the CSER Office’s Reverse Career Fair and following my own advice from my previous post Reverse Career Fair Preparation, there are a few tips I realize I can expand upon, as well as share additional things I learned along the way. This post is to serve as deeper insight into the fair.
Before getting into the meaty points, the most important tip must be given: arrive EARLY. There is a quick, intense atmosphere at the Reverse Career Fair, so you’ll want to get there early to avoid as much confusion as possible, and acclimate yourself.
And once you’re in the fair…
- You notice them when you first walk in. Make them clear, but a little flash doesn’t hurt. With many poster boards towering employers, make yours speak differently. Better yet, present a picture slideshow on a laptop alongside an informational (not too dense!) poster board. Some employers are shy, but most don’t want to waste time. A poster board is the most efficient way to pull people in.
Standing at your Table
- Amongst the poster boards, you’ll want to be visible. That, and you’re much more approachable, standing at your table with a smile. There’s an essence of confidence in this standing position, as well as attentiveness. Plus, all the employers are walking around and standing, so show them you are their equal. Sitting down may make you appear lazy, and can trick your mind into wandering when you want to be focused.
- Being eager will get you far. If you are there, want to be there. Stay alert and vigilant, making eye contact, smiling, and politely saying, “Hello.” If you seem distant, employers will notice and also be distant. This point cannot be emphasized enough. The more eager you are to work for these people, the more likely you will get a chance with one of their companies. Get comfortable talking to people about yourself: your strengths, goals, things you’ve made, things you’ve done, etc. And don’t forget enthusiasm, for yourself and for the employers.
- Realistically, everyone loves to walkaway with swag. From the employers perspective: it’s gratifying and makes you that much more memorable. It can get to a point of being showy, but walking that fine line is what will make you standout from everyone else. Whether its stickers you designed, business cards, candy with your logo on it, or just regular candy, having something to walkaway with leaves an impression that stays with employers beyond the face-time you already had.
Pro Tip: Employers most likely already know who you are, so keep your head up if employers seem to walk by you. Before the fair, you will need to send a short bio to the CSER Office, and this will be seen by the employers. You will want to make your bio attractive to the employers you would like to work for the most, so that way when they see the list and are deciding who they are going to see, you are one of those people.
Keeping all these things in mind will almost guarantee a successful Reverse Career Fair.