Post-Career Fair Tips

Attending a Career Fair isn’t always enough. You have dropped your resumes and got the business cards. What is there to do now? Just sit and wait for a phone call or an email? There are actually steps to take after attending a Career Fair to ensure you stand out amongst the hundreds of students that attended the event as well. Here is a short list of the most effective ways to get that internship or job opportunity above the crowd:

1. Start Getting Organized

Networking with employers is in many ways a daunting task. Especially when you have just spoken to a handful of employers and recruiters. So the best way to stay ahead is to create a document that organizes what organization or business you spoke to. If you have a business card staple that to the document next to the corresponding name, or simply make note of the recruiter. It will also benefit you to write down anything you might have said that stood out during your encounter. This way you have a conversation starter during follow-ups.

2. Follow-up

If you grabbed a business card or two (which you most definitely should have) remember to give those recruiters a ring. Make sure to stay fresh in their mind and give them a follow-up call. There are really two general routes you can take when planning that conversation. Depending on the relationship you might have with the recruiter, it might be note worthy opportunity to call within 24-48 hours. If it was a recruiter whom you have never met before, realize that these recruiters travel from Career Fair to Career Fair and do not necessarily have the time to chat right away. A rule of thumb is to wait about a week and a half’s worth of time before following up. This is to give them time to sort through resumes and to catch them when they are not focused on recruiting during Career Fair events. Remember, a well-planned follow-up will show dedication and leadership.

3. Update and Professionalize LinkedIn

100% of employers look at LinkedIn; make sure they can find you! That is probably the most important aspect. But a professional account will put you in a different league than the competition. GET A PROFESSIONAL HEADSHOT! If you do not have one already, get one. No cropped pictures allowed and definitely make sure you have a picture of you in your best outfit uploaded. Not having a profile picture is the worst possible scenario on LinkedIn. This cannot be stressed enough! Make sure EVERY question/aspect of the profile is filled out to the best of your ability. This profile is your E-resume and should be treated as such, professional and complete.

4. Continue Practicing

Interviewing well is most certainly a skill. And like any skill when you don’t utilize it, you lose it. It will keep your skills sharp and ready for your next opportunity.

5. Reflect on the Experience

How do you think you did approaching recruiters? Here is a list of questions to ask in reflection on a performance:

• Did I prepare for the Career Fair?
• Did I make enough networks? More than 3?
• Did I give my 30-second elevator speech?
• Did I have any memorable conversations?
• Did I learn anything about a potential employer or myself?
• Would I do anything differently next time?

Hopefully your Career Fair experience was memorable and you gained some new networks. Sometimes the preparation for a Career Fair can be daunting in itself and you have to decide if all that preparation is worth it to find your career. I can tell you it most certainly is. These Post-Career Fair tips are just as essential, maintaining professionalism and taking initiative will put you ahead of the heard. Anything we might have missed? Do you have a follow-up experience to share? Let us know in the comments!

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Sources:

7 Things You Need to Do After Attending a Career Fair. Retrieved October 3, 2015.

Focus on Follow-up – nationalcareerfairs.com. (2015, January 30). Retrieved October 4, 2015.

Dress for Success…Without Breaking Your Fragile Bank Account

We’ve all been there. We were even warned that it would happen; that we would eventually face the sad reality that we’re actually living and breathing the stereotype of a broke college student. You’ve probably found yourself heating up your Ramen Noodles in the microwave, while looking for spare change in your couch cushions, just so you can have somewhat of a social life and see the $1 movie playing in the UC.

When it comes down to it, being broke can become a pretty stressful problem you have to deal with.

This stress becomes amplified when you finally get that interview, or attend a job fair, and you realize you’ve yet to begin building your professional wardrobe. How does one make money when one cannot get the job because one does not have the appropriate wardrobe in order to land that job?!


It’s a cycle that adds on to the stress and often discourages students from trying to get the job they really want. That’s why we’re here to tell you to stress no more! Here are some alternatives we’ve found for when it comes to getting that budget-friendly professional wardrobe.

Maybe you have some old dress clothes from your parents, or found a suit at the thrift store. I know it’s not the most ideal option, but sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do. Take what you already have and try to modify it so it looks like it was made to fit you. There are some great inexpensive tailors that can get the job done and get you ready for that interview!

Although we would all love to sport the latest Calvin Klein business wear, we know that our bank accounts would probably not cooperate with a purchase that hefty. Try to focus on the basic elements you need (not want). You probably don’t need 10 different dress shirts and 3 pairs of shoes when you’re just starting out. Start with the absolute basics and build up from there once you’ve finally secured a job. Many stores like H&M, J.C. Penny, Kohls and Sears, just to name a few, offer a good variety of professional attire for a reasonable price. Get your basics and only buy what you absolutely need!

One benefit that actually comes from being labeled a broke college student, is that handy student ID card. What most people don’t know is that your ID card can get you lots of discounts! Stores like Charlotte Russe, J. Crew, Banana Republic, and ASOS all offer students discounts, so take advantage of them! (Here’s a list of more discounts that your student card can get you! http://bit.ly/1gsRZct)

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Another option is to go through your closet and get rid of things you no longer wear or need. You can try to sell these items at stores or online and use that money towards your new professional closet! Ebay offers used clothing at reasonable prices and you can sell your old stuff at the same time! You can also search for your area to see if your community offers any local clothing swaps!  Freecycle.org, is a site that aims to encourage people to reuse and recycle their old clothes. You can find your nearest group on their website and start saving your money!

Universities all over also usually offer some resources when it comes to getting your wardrobe ready for professional events or interviews. UW-Whitewater has the “Warhawk Success Closet” that gives all students the chance to get free professional business attire that has been donated to the university. The Warhawk Success Closet will be held on September 24th and 25th from 11am-5pm in the University Center (9/24 UC69 and 9/25 UC264).

Now there’s really no excuse for wearing jeans and sandals to the next career fair. Keep these simple tips in mind and you’ll be dressed for success without enduring the guilt of breaking your bank!

Multicultural Career Fair Recap

Untitled Suit and tie. Padfolio filled with resumes. Business cards. A positive attitude.

These are all things necessary when attending a career fair. When I decided to attend the Multicultural Career Fair here at UW-Whitewater, I had to prepare.

Luckily, this was not my first career fair, so I already knew what to expect and what to do differently than the time before.

I started the morning ensuring that I was going to be comfortable throughout the day. Having a filling breakfast, the “recommended” amount of caffeine, and enough time to get ready in the morning, set the foundation for a positive and productive experience.

I chose to wear a white dress shirt so I did not become too warm during the career fair. No company wants to hire someone drenched in sweat from walking around a room, am I right?

I researched the companies and organizations I wanted to speak to the day before the career fair, making sure I was prepared to hold a conversation with and impress the recruitment representatives.

When I arrived at the Multicultural Career Fair, the first company I wanted to talk to was MilwaukeeJobs.com. The company has an opening for a Community Partners Manager, so I immediately took an interest in speaking to them.

Background: I was a Marketing Intern for this company during the summer after my sophomore year and enjoyed my experience a lot during that time. While this is a very rare case of already having an extensive base of knowledge on the company and position, it made speaking to the company recruiter more meaningful.

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After speaking to MilwaukeeJobs.com, my confidence rose and I was ready to move on the next employer.

I have an interest in state government, so I had to make a stop at each of the state departments and drop off a resume. Every conversation with these representatives was pleasant and went according to plan, besides one.

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) can only take job applications online and cannot take resumes at career fairs, in order to offer fair opportunities to all job seekers.

I was not aware of this fact and after our conversation ended, I asked if I could leave a resume and was in the motion of pulling one out of my padfolio. The representative, with a completely straight face, replies “No, sorry.”

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I was very thrown off and it made the rest of the encounter a little awkward. They explained why they couldn’t take a resume and I completely understood.

It’s very important to research the hiring procedures of organizations like the DNR. If I had done that, I could have avoided an uncomfortable situation and left a more positive impression.

Overall, my experience from the Multicultural Career Fair was extremely positive. There’s nothing else like being surrounded by other students looking for employment in their field and professionals eager to offer amazing opportunities for career development.

Whether you’re looking for full-time employment or an internship, I would encourage all job seekers to attend career fairs in the future. If prepared properly, it’s the most effective avenue to take when locking down that next employment opportunity.

If you attended the Multicultural Career Fair, please share your experiences with us! Comment on this post or share your experiences using #WarhawksWork on either Facebook or Twitter!

Tips For Making the Most of a Career Fair

With the career fair coming up soon, here are some tips for you:

Before the Career Fair

11. Research the companies that you want to speak with. Before you go to the career fair, you should do some basic research on what the company does. This way you can spend your time telling the company representative about yourself, rather than asking them questions about what their company does.

When choosing which companies to speak with, be open minded; just because you have never heard of a company doesn’t mean that they don’t have something great to offer. Make sure that you prioritize the companies that you want to speak with, you don’t want to run out of time.

22. Prepare questions to ask employers. After you have researched which companies you want to talk to, come up with some questions that you have for them. These could be specific to positions that they have open, or more general questions about what it is like to work there. You should also come up with some general questions for companies that catch your eye at the fair that you had not already researched.

At the Career Fair

3. Attend the Career Fair alone. However, don’t push yourself. If this is your first career fair, you don’t want to discourage yourself by being uncomfortable. If you have never been to a career fair, instead of walking in and talking to someone right away, walk around the room for a little and get a feel of the environment. Once you are comfortable, start talking to an employer.

4. Treat it like an in-person interview. Proper business attire is crucial, no bold colored blazers! Make sure that you are acting professional the entire time you are in the room. The employers are always watching and if you just had a great conversation with them but then went and goofed off across the room, they may notice that and count it against you.

35. Remember that the employers are people too. Don’t be afraid to talk to them. The days at the career fair are just as long, if not longer for them. They are here to find candidates from our school, so make their trip, and your trip, worthwhile.

6. Be honest. This includes any experience you have had. Employers can sense when you’re being superficial. However, don’t be embarrassed by what experience you have. Everyone needs to start somewhere and even if you only have a little experience, you could still be a great candidate.

7. Know what makes you unique. You are unique and you have something great to offer an employer. Use this to your advantage. Employers want to know why you would be the best fit for the positions at their company. Don’t be afraid to brag about yourself, this is the perfect setting for it.

8. Know what you are looking for. This could be a full-time position for after graduation, a summer internship, a part-time position, or an internship that starts right away. You should also know what you want to get out of the opportunity and center questions around that (i.e. networking, professional experience, professional or personal growth).

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9. Keep track of who you talk to and what you talk about. Write this information down to follow up after. Make sure you have specific notes of what you talked about, i.e. the recruiter and I talked about how we both had pet goldfish when we were kids. It doesn’t have to be something career related, but you want the employer to remember who you are.

 After the Career Fair

10. Follow up. Make sure that you follow up with the employers you talk to. This could include an email, or a formal thank you letter. Just make sure that when you are following up, you reference something that you talked about when talking with the employer, this could help them remember you.

Follow up with all employers, even ones that you may not be interested in. Just because you don’t want to work for their company now, doesn’t mean that they couldn’t be a great resource or connection in the future.

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kickSTARt Your Interview

 

Two short weeks ago I was in the heart of the Windy City for the Chicago Advertising Federation Career Day. It was an all day affair complete with breakfast, lunch, panel discussions, and networking opportunities. I learned a lot through my anxiety-ridden experience, and want to share my new-found knowledge with all of you!

The lunch portion of the event was particularly helpful because we (the very nervous interviewees) had our very own, real life HR Recruiter at our table. Luckily, she was very nice and let us ask as many questions as our hearts desired, and I asked “what advice do you have for how we should approach the company booths during the networking time?” Her answer was simple, informative, and easy to implement – simply be a S.T.A.R.

Whether it’s a quick talk at a booth, a phone interview, or an onsite interview, the S.T.A.R. method is the best way to answer any question a recruiter poses. In order to implement this answering method you have to use real life examples. For example, if the interviewer asks you about a moment you are most proud of this is how you would answer using the S.T.A.R. method:

Situation:

Anytime you give an answer you need to give the recruiter/hiring manager some context of what was happening. What you may think is obvious might not be to them, so make sure you include information about the basics of the situation.

Example: The moment I’m most proud of is when I won my internship competition last summer when I was a digital media planning intern at MediaCom. The competition consisted of five teams with four people on each, and lasted throughout the 10-week internship.

Task:

This is where you describe what you were asked to do, or what the challenge of the situation was.

Example: For the internship competition each team was asked to create a comprehensive media plan for BP Fuel Rewards Program, which culminated in a group presentation in front of agency leaders.

Action:

This is the most important component of the S.T.A.R. method. The action piece of the method is where you describe what you actually did in the scenario.

Example: My group did substantial secondary research to fully understand the situation at hand. We then worked together to create an insightful media plan based on our research. Our presentation was well rehearsed, and adequately reflected the work we put into it.

Result:

This is the conclusion of the S.T.A.R. method. Now you need to tell them the “so what.” What happened as a result of your actions? The result section is where you prove to the recruiter that you made the right “action.”

Example: As a result of our hard work and detail-oriented plan, my team won the intern competition. Our prize was the opportunity to present to MindShare’s North American CEO.

 

The S.T.A.R. method is a great way to handle any interview question; it keeps your answers clear, concise, and organized. It also helps you from rambling on and on.

Have you ever used the STAR method?