Jobseekers, Graduates, Students, 

Before you go to the next job/career fair think about following:

Many universities offer in-house events where they invite companies who are looking for interns. Also, there are plenty of career fairs organized throughout the year in the city or the next biggest city you live in.

A job fair is one of the greatest opportunities for students to find a suitable internship, establish a network, practice interviews, and professional meetings and start to create your personal brand.

Despite universities are doing a big effort to organize job events in-house many students are not seeing and realizing the opportunity or are not prepared well for it. Usually, the universities invite mainly companies who are looking for interns and have currently internship openings. And habitually the universities are sending in advance the list of the attendee companies to the students.

This is a perfect chance to do your homework and check out the websites of those companies. Do your research and understand the field where the companies are operating. Do your shortlist of the companies which are interesting to you and prioritize them. Based on that concentrate your preparation only on those companies. It is a huge difference if you go to the stand of all present companies at the fair with little preparation versus that you are prepared and approach a handful of companies which are really interesting to you. The last one will help you to stand out from the crowd which will increase your chance to get hired. With preparation I mean that you really spent enough time on the companies website or on Wikipedia to understand:

  • The company’s history
  • Their core products/services and key initiatives
  • Their core values
  • Their competition
  • The locations they are based in
  • Their financial information
  • Any recent news related to the company

Understanding the dynamics of a job fair

While a career fair has a similar set up to any other professional fairs there is a fine and important difference:

On a regular fair, the attending companies are interested in dealing and making business with you as an attendee. In other words, there are pro-actively trying to catch your attention and involve you in business discussions to position their products and services. Ultimately the companies want to make a deal/sales with you and therefore there is a natural competition between the participant companies. To better illustrate this scenario think about the following: the companies are the “hunters” in terms of trying to catch a deal and the attendees are “farmers” in terms of collecting information.

On a job fair obviously, the attending companies are also interested in you. However, the dynamic changes a bit. Successful companies would like to hire promising students and invest in their future. It is now the attendee (you as a student) who needs to be pro-active and shine against his competition (the other students). You need to make a great professional impression and set the foundation.

There is no shortcut for success.A great preparation and solid understanding of your interest should be the pillars to start this path.

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