Welcome back to campus! It’s the second semester of a historic academic year and I hope you are ready to get back to what the world has affectionately called “Zoom University”. Last semester showed us how strong Aggies are when it comes to pushing themselves to conquer the unknown amidst a global pandemic, so as an employer I’m excited to engage with students once again, through the internet, in the comfort of our own homes.
Let’s talk Career Fairs! If I had a dollar for every time somebody asked me “Amanda, how do I stand out a career fair when it’s online?” (or something along those lines) I definitely would have enough gas money to get from Houston to College Station and back. Honestly, the nerves are totally normal, I get that you can’t show everything you have to offer through a screen, or you feel rushed because of time limits, but here are my tips and tricks on overcoming the nerves and standing out from behind a screen:
1. Dress to Impress
Yes, Career Fairs are now hosted online, and you can attend them from the comfort of your bed or desk, but PLEASE dress like you would if you were attending the fair in person. If you dress up, you will definitely feel more confident and will make a good impression to the recruiter.
Extra tip: Dress up from head to toe! You don’t want to be that person that is seen as unprofessional if your camera accidentally pans down and you’re in pajamas.
2. Check out the Employers Attending Beforehand
The career fair organizers will send out a list of company attendees, make sure you do your research and find out which company you truly want to spend time talking to. Find out what positions they are hiring for and ask the recruiter about them – this always makes a difference when I speak to students. It will also ensure proper use of your time and will make the wait talking to reps feel worth it.
Extra tip: See if any of the representatives attached to the company page for the career fair are available to connect on LinkedIn prior to the Career Fair and shoot them a connection with a note similarly to “ Hi, I saw that you’d be attending the career fair at TAMU and wanted to connect prior to our interaction!” That way you’re already in front of them and their eyes before you actually meet them.
3. Test your Equipment
What you don’t want to happen the DAY of the virtual career fair is technical difficulties! Make sure your camera on your laptop works and is at an appropriate height, make sure you have a clean and appropriate background, be it a virtual one or an actual wall. Make sure your microphone works and that you have a stable Wi-Fi connection(have a backup if necessary, whether it’s through a hotspot or an ethernet cord).
4. Take Notes
Have a notebook next to you so you can jot down the important information from your chat with the recruiter. Some things to keep in mind:
- The recruiters name(contact info if they’re willing to share)
- Job positions they are currently recruiting for or will be posting soon
- Three key facts about the role
- Where the job is posted and when the application deadline is
- The potential timeline of the recruitment cycle for the role
5. Have Fun and Relax
When I’m at a career fair, be it in person or virtual, I’m always having to tell a couple candidates, to slow down and relax for a second. To just genuinely have a conversation with me, because at the end of the day, I want to find the best fit role for you. Trust me, recruiters have been in your EXACT shoes, they get how nerve racking it could be. So- just take a deep breath, show me your personality, be honest and have fun! If you do this, you will definitely make an impression.
That’s the five best tips I have for you guys going into the new academic semester! I’m confident that you will impress and come out of this semester with an internship or full-time job in your hand. And lastly, Gig ‘em Aggies!
Written by Amanda Martins, University Recruiting Specialist, Halliburton (Silver Partner).