How to make the most of the Cal Career Fair

college-career-fair1

Related Posts

Cal Career Fair is back for the fall semester, and once again, it’s the primary career showcase of the year. There are two days of the fair left! It will be held at the RSF Field House Gym from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. today and tomorrow.

The fair can be your one-stop guide to navigating the opportunities available to college students. Even if you’re not in a hurry to look for a job or internship, the career fair is a great way to connect with employers, learn more about companies and practice your networking skills. So don’t show up in your workout clothes, and don’t plan to “stop by” the fair for a few minutes in between classes. It’s a good idea to actually put some effort into preparing for the career fair.

Check out a few tips the Clog has compiled to help you out:

Before Cal Career Fair…

  • Research the employers. Callisto has a list of all the recruiters attending the fair, so you can familiarize yourself with a few of the companies beforehand. Prioritize which employers you’d like to talk to at the career fair, and prepare some questions to ask about the company. This way you won’t waste time interviewing with companies you don’t want to work for, and you will have time to talk to the most important people.
  • Update your resume and print out a few copies. Better yet, if you have multiple interests and plan to explore very different industries, make different versions of your resume.
  • Plan what to wear. Okay, so half of the companies in the Bay Area have no dress code — or, rather, flipflops and hoodies are the dress code. But at a career fair, you should aim to present yourself professionally and give the impression that you are serious about the job search. If you’re not sure what to wear, the best bet is to dress in business casual attire.

At Cal Career Fair…

  • Market yourself. You only have a few minutes to talk and possibly convince the interviewer that you are what the company is looking for. This can be a nerve-wracking experience. Don’t forget to show enthusiasm. Make eye contact, give a friendly smile and offer a firm handshake.
  • Ask relevant questions. Don’t waste valuable time asking basic questions such as, “What does your company do?” Instead, try to be as specific as possible and ask about a position you’re interested in, or ask for additional sources of information. Asking good questions shows you’ve done your homework on the company.

After Cal Career Fair…

  • Take notes. Don’t forget about the companies that interest you. If a recruiter offers some especially helpful insight, remember it.
  • Follow up with important recruiters. If you had a particularly memorable conversation with a company’s representative, connect with the person on LinkedIn, or send him or her an email. The representative might even end up contacting you in the future about a job offer.

Image Sources: AlbertHerring, under Creative Commons

Contact Tiffany Gong at [email protected].

Correction(s):
A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that the final day of Cal Career Fair is September 18. In fact, the final day is September 19.