How To Stand Out At A Career Fair

Every year, Stutern hosts a career fair. There will be over 1000 jobs available, 200+ employers and over 2000+ applicants in attendance. If you've never attended a career fair, the one thing to know is employers will be outnumbered by applicants, and you'll have a limited time to make an impression. You want to show up and remain memorable.

Do you want to stand out at your next career fair? Here's what you need to do:

Research 

Stutern has generously provided a list of companies and organizations that will be attending the fair. This is normal practice for such events. Go through the list of employers, if possible find out what positions are available and take note of the ones that have opportunities that fit your skills and expertise. Whatever you do, don't go into a career fair blind. Do your research.

Have a plan 

To be effective at a career fair, have a plan in place. You won't be able to meet with all 200+ employers, so decide on your top 5, 10 and 20 in that order. The companies you absolutely must meet with should be on your top 5 list. The next 5 are those you'd like to connect with. The last 10 are the ones you'll visit once you've made the rounds with the first 10 companies on your list. The companies on your list should meet two criteria:

  • Companies you'd like to work with
  • Companies that have opportunities that match your expertise

Prepare your Pitch 

Yup, you heard that right. Due to the amount of candidates showing up for the fair, it is important that you present yourself in a memorable way. It is not enough to say "Hi, my name is Lagbaja and I want to work for you." There is nothing special about that. Instead, come up with a pitch that describes who you are, what you do, and who benefits from your skills or services.

E.g. My name is Monale. I help young Nigerian professionals prepare for the work place and manage their online reputation for career success. I hope to equip them with skills and knowledge that make them assets to their companies.

Take a few minutes to write out your pitch.


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A follow up Thank You note email script | Top 5, 10, 20 company list section
| A pitch/introductory block | A cheat sheet page. 
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Print your CV 

Do not go to a career fair without hard copies of your CV. If you can afford it, place them in a nice 2-pocket folder or envelope. To differentiate yourself further, include a business card. Yup, it is never to early to have a business card. 

Dress the part 

Ever heard the saying 'you are addressed based on how you are dressed'? There is some truth to that statement. Dress up in professional attire. This means suits for guys and a nice corporate dress, skirt or pant suit for the ladies. Avoid tight outfits and go easy on the perfume and cologne.

Be Confident 

With a plan in place, a great pitch and your CV in hand, step up to each employer and introduce yourself with a firm handshake. Keep eye contact while introducing yourself. Prepare some conversation starters to follow up on your pitch.

E.g.  I noticed your company helps abc achieve growth through xyz. As a marketer/or communications student, I have done so and so, and would love to talk to you about doing 123 to help your company achieve its goals.

Be attentive to the ongoing conversation and ask follow up questions or make comments that allow you to showcase your knowledge and what you can bring to the table. Remember to smile where appropriate.

When leaving the conversation, remember to thank the person for their time.

Get Contact Information and Keep in touch 

This final step in the process is to keep in touch. This is a little tricky because some Nigerian recruiters/employers may not be open to giving up their contact information. However, this shouldn't stop you. If possible, ask the recruiter for a business card or email address. Let them know you'd like to send a thank you note and continue the conversation. If the recruiter isn't open to this, don't press the issue. But don't leave without trying to get some kind of contact information.

If you get contact information, follow up within a day with a thank you email. In that note, you want to reintroduce yourself and remind the recruiter about your conversation. Go ahead and thank them for taking the time to speak with you, reiterate your desire to work with the company, and leave the door open for further conversation.

That's it folks. Seven (7) ways to stand out at a career fair. If you are attending the Stutern Internship fair, I'd love to hear which of these tips you'll be using and your experience at the fair. Leave me a comment below and I'll be sure to respond. 

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Professionally yours,

WSN