Employer Insights: BrightEdge’s Top 10 Career Tips for Optimizing Career Fair Success

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BrightEdge is a fun, young, talented, and driven organization that is the global leader for Enterprise SEO technology.  We have cool snacks, a fridge named Frank the Tank that is full of drinks, and we throw amazing parties.

#10 – Research! Research! Research!

Before showing up to one, research the career fair’s website and career center job postings to understand which companies are attending and the jobs available (and relevant!) to you.  You can impress a representative by knowing about his or her company.  Yes, this actually means more than restating the mission statement, but knowing about industry trends, top competitors, and growth areas.  Also leverage your professors and alumni network to get tips, advice, and connections for companies that may interest you.  Be prepared to answer questions such as “Why do you want to work for us?” or “What type of career interests you the most?” The more you know about each company, the better prepared you will be to converse with the company representative.

#9 – Take Plenty of Resumes

Though it might make you feel like the over eager kid who sits in the front row and asks a million questions per class, coming to a career fair prepared is important.  Take a minimum of 25 resumes (or more if it’s a large event) to hand out to prospective employers.  If you have resumes with different interests or job objectives, make sure you bring enough of each version.  Don’t rely on copy services being available at the fair. Also, bring an iPad, smartphone, or a notepad to take notes, and organize everything in a briefcase or portfolio – looking professional is just as important as being professional.  Well, at least almost as important…

#8 – Prepare a Plan

Just as a lioness circles a lone wildebeest who has broken away from the herd, so too should you prepare a strategy that outlines a plan of attack. Arrive early to register and familiarize yourself with the location.  Obtain a map of the employer booths (if available), determine where your top and second choices are located, and list them in priority order to visit.  A good recommendation is to return to your top choices towards the end and thank them again for their time.  Be aware of time demands and try not to monopolize anyone’s time – showing interest is key, being overzealous is not. Ask specific questions and offer to follow up after the fair, as appropriate. Stay flexible and use time wisely to avoid long lines and make sure you meet with your top choices.

#7 – Broaden Your Focus

When researching to identify employers and career opportunities, think outside the box and include many types of employers.  Remember that while certain companies might seem attractive to you like a movie star or hip hop mogul, it’s often the newcomer or undiscovered gem that can offer just as meaningful career opportunities.  For instance, you may have not considered working for a technology start up (hint-hint), but technology companies recruit and hire professionals in many different fields outside of engineering (e.g., sales, client services, marketing, finance, or accounting). 

#6 Be Ready for a ‘Mini’ Interview

Employers will treat the career fair as an opportunity to do a 2 to 3 minute interview with prospective candidates to quickly identify potential next steps, so make sure to sell yourself!  Be direct. Introduce yourself, including your name, career interests, and why you are interested in their company. Be prepared to quickly sell your skills, talents, and experience.  Career fairs tend to be more casual, so you can relax and be less formal in your approach – though we don’t recommend calling your recruiter “bro”….

#5 Be Memorable

Employers will talk to a number of candidates while at the career fair, so make sure you stand out from the crowd and make a good 1st impression.  Show a lot of personality and energy, and remember that you won’t get a 2nd chance to make your 1st impression. Candidates often tend to get nervous and forget that it’s also about showing who you are and as well as selling yourself.  While your GPA and internships are obviously a good gauge of your stellar qualifications, fitting into team “culture” is just as important, so make sure to highlight who you really are.  But don’t be afraid to add some flair to your prepared ‘elevator speech.’  The representatives at the career fair will be taking notes on you, so make sure to bring you’re A-game!

#4. Keep Track of the Companies

Track which employers you’ve submitted your resume to so you know which ones to follow up with.  It’s a good idea to jot down notes on whom you meet, reminders of key experiences, skills, or areas discussed, and the necessary steps for follow up.  This will help later on when following up and preparing for any interviews.  There’s nothing worse than getting a call for an interview and having to ask them what it’s for… Taking notes will also help you when you write a follow up “thank you” email, which of course you will do since you’re not a Neanderthal. 

#3. Ask About Next Steps & Follow Up

When wrapping up your conversations with each representative, show your interest and enthusiasm by asking about next steps; including submitting an online application, the recruiting process, and timeline.  Most companies also require an online application even though you may have submitted a resume at the career fair.  If the company says they will contact you, refrain from emailing or calling, and wait for them to reach out to you first. 

#2 Network! Network! Network!

Did we mention networking?  Career fairs are all about networking and building relationships.  Your main task is to network with the recruiters and hiring managers at the career fair, but also network with your fellow job-seekers in terms of sharing information about companies, job opportunities, contacts, and helpful hints.  While it might be tempting to view them as the competition and jostle for position in front or even misdirect them to the exit, remember that you might actually get further in life by working as a team. 

#1 Don’t Forget About the Intangibles

Prepare while waiting – don’t just stand in line doing nothing! Read the company materials, as someone actually spent a fair amount of time trying to elucidate the company’s goals and needs.  Also listen to the other conversations going on around to better prepare for your time.  This is an ideal time to put your eavesdropping skills to work, as long as you’re not too obvious.  Be patient – don’t be disappointed if the representative needs to take a break before your conversation. Stay positive – if your ideal company is not actively hiring for the position you want, take this as an opportunity to network and build relationships.  Meet with the representatives to learn about the future opportunities and a potential timeline.

Honorable Mention – Visit the BrightEdge Booth at the Career Fair

BrightEdge is a fun, young, talented, and driven organization that is the global leader for Enterprise SEO technology.  We have cool snacks, a fridge named Frank the Tank that is full of drinks, and we throw amazing parties.

ABOUT BRIGHTEDGE:

BrightEdge is an enterprise Search Engine optimization (SEO) technology platform, which helps the world’s largest brands stay ahead in the rapidly evolving internet landscape. BrightEdge is leading a fundamental shift in digital marketing by harnessing big data analytics to help businesses optimize their online content and drive revenue from web sites, search engines, and social networks across the globe.

If you would like to meet with BrightEdge, stop by their booth at the Fall Job & Internship Fair. RSVP through NYU CareerNet by clicking here!

 

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