Spring is just around the corner, which means it is Career Fair season for recruiters! Career fairs are phenomenal networking opportunities, and they are easily the best place to look if you’re seeking an internship, full-time, part time or temporary job opportunity by learning more about a wide variety of employers. However, you can’t just participate in an in-person or virtual career fair and not be prepared. UMUC’s Office of Career Services is preparing for the upcoming 2017 Spring Career Fair (both In-Person and Virtual). As we get closer to this year’s event, UMUC’s Employer Relations team asked its employer partners what advice they have for students planning to attend the career fairs.
Here are some tips hiring managers and recruiters shared on the qualifications they are looking for in candidates participating in the 2017 Spring Career Fairs (In-Person and Virtual):
Management and Program Analyst with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security David Thompson offered some bullet point tips for attending an in-person career fair to include:
- Arrive at the event early; some employers/recruiters notice those arrives early and this will create a better opportunity to be selected.
- Bring a least 10 copies of your resume. You should include the following, if it applies:
- A copy of your unofficial transcript(s)
- If you are military, a copy of your DD Form 214 and Veteran Administration Letter if you are claiming “10 Point Veteran Preference.”
- If you want to be considered under Schedule A (applicant claiming medically disability), please bring a copy of your Schedule A Disability Letter, signed by your physician.
- Do your homework about the organization; it may or may not be a good fit.
- Prepare to answer open-ended fact finding questions, such as who, what, when and when.
- Speak clearly and confidently about who you are and what you bring to the table.
- Look the person in his or her eyes when asked a question.
- Dress for success; applicants that attend job fairs in blue jeans are not taken serious.
- Your resume should have some meat in it. Do not leave it to recruiters or hiring managers to assume. (Remember you are competing for a job.)
- Put on your game face!
Sr. Healthcare Recruiter with the MITRE Corporation Claire F. Connors, also offered some tips for career seekers:
- Arrive early and dress professionally.
- Prioritize the companies you are most interested in beforehand to make the most of your time at the fair.
- Have a short “career pitch” to summarize your career goals and aspirations along with your academic interests and successes.
- Bring resumes and business cards.
- Be respectful of the recruiters’ time and attention, as there are typically lots of students they need to talk with.
- Get business cards from the recruiters you speak with and any information they have about their company-good for follow up afterwards.
“I think there is definitely room for being prepared – company knowledge, industry stats, etc. – but as a recruiter, I think it is always helpful for me to know how the candidate sees himself in the grand scheme of the business environment of the employer,” said Director of Executive Consulting with Randstad Professionals Kareemah Woodard. “With social media and data so readily available, if the candidate has good awareness of the employer’s culture and mission, I always find that kind of impressive.”
“Also, in a Career Fair, employers are often time-crunched as they may have to speak with so many participants,” she added. “Getting participants in a position to quickly speak to their “elevator speech” is really important.”
President and CEO of Civility Management Solutions Laurie Sayles Artis added, “Make sure you explain all acronyms used in your resume, e.g. ‘DHS (Department of Homeland Security).’ In the summary of your resume, highlight whether you have government experience, and provide your clearance level. Small businesses that work with the government are looking for this as soon as they pick up your resume. Lastly, tell us some quantifiable information in your resume, e.g. ‘Managed over $1 million in products.’”
Lead Technical Recruiter with CACI PJ Puccio offered the following advice for those participating in a virtual career fair:
“If you are participating in a virtual career fair, have a confident elevator pitch that highlights the most remarkable thing you have done to demonstrate you are passionate about the particular industry or position you are interested in. Also, demonstrate that you’ve looked at our organization and know something about it. This information can easily be pasted in the chat feature of the virtual platform.”
Each year recruiters mark their calendar to participate in spring Career Fairs on college campuses to take full advantage of the talent pool. UMUC’s Office of Career Services is actively working with employers to best prepare our students and alumni to make a good impression on these recruiters and to work for these great companies.
Whether this will be your first career fair or tenth, finding the right career opportunity requires more than just showing up and hoping for the best. In order to get the most out of your career fair experience you must be prepared. I encourage you to use the tips offered by our employer partners and also attend the 2017 Spring Career Fair. Log into CareerQuest to register for the in-person Career Fair on March 9 and the virtual Career Fair on March 14, and start preparing today.
For more information on career opportunities and resources available to UMUC students and alumni from the Office of Career Services, click here.
Darren Cox serves as the Director of Employer Services with UMUC and primarily works to connect UMUC students/alumni to employers. Darren has over 14 years’ experience in the career and workforce development arena in the non-profit, District of Columbia Government and University sectors. Some of the keys responsibilities in Darren’s current role are to meet with employers to identify their recruitment needs and work to connect UMUC candidates to open positions. Darren holds a Bachelor’s degree from Penn State University in both Journalism and English and a Master’s degree in Social Work from Howard University.