This week I participated in the #BNFTHires University Career Fair Best Practices Twitter chat. Having attended several career fairs over the years representing Benefitfocus, I was asked to lend my insight and share my tips for success. I'll be visiting several more career fairs in the next few weeks so I thought I’d expand on what I shared during the Twitter chat. Below are my personal tips for success:
- Do your homework on the companies attending the career fair. Find out which companies will be there and learn what you can about them ahead of the career fair. You don't have to know everything about a company, but, personally, if I can tell someone has taken the time to learn about our company, I'll be more likely to remember you. This meeting is also your perfect opportunity to determine if you think you'd be a good fit with a company. Prepare a couple questions you'd like to ask about the company or the technologies they work with.
- Bring your resume. You may only get 30 seconds to talk with a company representative, but if they have a copy of your resume in their hands, they will be able to remember you better. (Not to mention a place to write notes about why you stood out.)
- Don’t be afraid to show off a little. Personally, I want to hear about that awesome iOS app you wrote in your spare time, and I want to find out what open source projects you contributed to. Unfortunately, I will speak to many candidates at the fair, and I'll need your help to ensure you stand out in my memory. Come prepared to tell me why you're the best candidate I'll talk to that day.
- Remember your own history. This tip may seem obvious, but it's easy to forget the name of that API or framework you worked with two years ago if you haven't worked with it in awhile. Also share what engineering blogs you have read (like this one). Your conversations will be more memorable if you're able to provide specifics about your engineering experience and knowledge.
- Ask for a business card. You may think of questions after the fair, and your best way to get them answered is if you have a contact.
- Smile and enjoy yourself! Your goal at the career fair is to find a company that fits you as much as it is to convince their representatives that your resume is worth a closer look. There are very few things that make a better impression on me than someone who is smiling and engaged in our conversation.
For a full recap of the #BNFThires University Career Fair Best Practices Twitter chat check out the Storify here.