Friday Favorites – Top Information to Gather About Career Fair Employers

So, you’ve printed out a dozen copies of your resume, you just bought new shoes, and you’ve practiced your elevator speech in front of the mirror every day for the past week.

All set for the Hawk Career Fair on September 25? Not quite. First of all, break into those new shoes! (You don’t want to go to the Fair with new shoes. That will make for sore soles and blisters!) Second, read these five tips on how to research employers who will be at the Fair. While you may have some of the  ‘fun’ stuff done, such as picking out what you’re planning on wearing and updating your resume, doing research is just as important.

New shoes

First, find out which employers will be attending the Hawk Career Fair. You can find this out on Hawk Jobs. First, log in where it reads, ‘Student/Faculty Login.’ If you’ve never been on Hawk Jobs before, it will require you to fill out your profile. Second, click the tab at the top that reads, ‘Career Events & Workshops,’ and then click ‘Hawk Career Fair.’ There will be a blue button at the top that says, ‘View Employers Attending.’

Know The Basics

You never, ever want to go up to an employer and ask, ‘So, what does your company do?’ Don’t make this mistake! Instead, find about 5 or 10 companies that are attending that you are interested in and browse their website – but don’t limit yourself to just their website. Their Facebook page or Twitter can also have some great information that might not be found on their website. You’d be amazed at what you can learn from their tweets and Facebook posts! Bonus points if you ‘like’ and follow them on Twitter!

What is some basic information you should know about them? Where they are located, if there are any job or internship openings, if the company is big or small, what products the company has released, if the company has won any recent awards, when they were established, and their mission statement. A good idea is to jot some of the information down in your padfolio (we’re giving away a couple at our Resume Doctor events next week if you don’t have one yet!) or a notebook and review the information before you start to talk to them.

Are They Hiring?

One of the main reasons employers attend the Hawk Career Fair is because they are looking for jobs or internships to fill. They are looking for YOU! You can find if there are open positions on Hawk Jobs, on their website or on their Facebook page. If you are having trouble finding the information, sending the HR employer a quick e-mail or LinkedIn message asking about jobs or internships won’t hurt!

Research About Their Open Jobs/Internships

It looks like the company you’re interested in is hiring! That’s great! But… your major and minor don’t exactly qualify you for the job. That’s okay! This is why it is good to research jobs and internships before you step foot into the Williams Center Gym. If employers might not see that your major or minor line up with the position they’re trying to fill, a good idea is to write down all your strengths, extracurricular activities and leadership positions that are relevant to the position you’re interested in.

Use LinkedIn To Your Advantage

A good idea to have an edge over the competition is to search your top 10 employers on LinkedIn. More than likely a UW-Whitewater alumnus may be employed there, and chances are they’ll be more than happy to talk about their experience at said company. A good idea is to send them a message or e-mail asking what the company culture is like, what entry-level jobs or internships are like, and what they like about working for the company. You’ll get some insider tips that can put you ahead of the other students applying for the same job.

Prepare Questions To Ask

Every company at the Hawk Career Fair will be different – even those in the same industry. This is where you need to dig deep and frame your questions to fit each company. If you know that a company wants you to apply online for a job, ask the employer who reviews the application, and what happens after you click ‘send’? If you’re applying for a specific position, ask the employer what the biggest challenges are for that position. If you didn’t get a clear understanding from the company’s website, ask the employer what their company culture is like.

I hope these five tips will help you at the Hawk Career Fair and other fairs to come! As always, the career counselors are here in Career & Leadership Development to help you every step of your college career.

Photo by Mingo Hagen.