Graduate Assistant Dan Ambrosio is currently pursuing his Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) degree at Walden University. In Dan’s Take, he shares his perspective on career management from a student’s eye view. Dan lives in Germany where he teaches business English. He enjoys traveling, studying, riding motorcycles, and working out.
Career fairs are an excellent way to meet hiring managers face-to-face. It is effortless nowadays to apply for multiple jobs through the Internet. As a result, companies tend to receive an overwhelming amount of applications and resumes. The challenge for job hunters is to stand out among all of these applications and make themselves known to potential employers. One of the ways to get yourself in front of a hiring manager and to network with business professionals is to attend a career fair.
Recently, I participated in a couple of career fairs where multiple companies were hiring. Bring more hard copies of your resume than you think you need, so recruiters are never left empty-handed. Every hiring manager I spoke with wanted a copy of my resume. Also, make sure that you thoroughly review your resume beforehand (e.g., check for grammar, style, action verbs, etc.). A resume will do just fine at the career fairs; no one asked me for a cover letter.
Make sure to look your best. While this is not a formal interview process, dressing professionally shows professionalism and sometimes hiring managers will interview and hire on the spot. I found it beneficial to introduce myself before asking any questions about their organization and available positions. The length of each conversation depended on the number of their current openings and future opportunities. The hiring managers I spoke with gave me their business cards which allowed me to email or call them directly if I decided to pursue an opportunity at their company.
Research the companies and positions available as much as possible before attending. Often the career fair’s website will list the companies in attendance and the positions available. This information will help you to prioritize your time. Even if you do your research, it is essential to ask questions. A career fair is a great opportunity to gain a better understanding of company culture and demonstrate your interest. Even if the position or the company is not for you, the managers may know someone who is! If there is a position that you are interested in, remember to follow up with the person you spoke with at the career fair.
Career fairs are also an excellent way to network. It never hurts to get to know someone professionally and possibly connect with them on LinkedIn. It is much simpler to get to know an organization when you meet a representative in person, versus clicking “apply” online. Unfortunately, career fairs are not available all the time. That being said, most major cities have them. I found the career fairs that I attended by searching on Google. Most career fairs will require that you register and bring proof of registration. So far, the career fairs I attended have been free. Some career fairs are larger than others, so bring plenty of resumes. I hope your job hunt is going well and good luck at your next career fair event!
For more career related information visit the Walden Career Services Center website.
Written by Dan Ambrosio, Walden DBA Student, Career Services Graduate Assistant