Benefits of Attending Career Fairs and other Professional Events
Career Fairs and other professional events are a great way for Pomona College students to begin building a strong network of potential employers. These events allow recruiters to get to know the person behind the application, which can help students stand out from the crowd, gain contact with whom they can conduct information interviews, and get leads on specific jobs or internships.
The Career Development Office recommends that before the event, students should:
- Review the employers or names of people attending the event (if available). Research them as much as possible by looking at Vault, Glassdoor, or people's profiles on LinkedIn.
- Come up with a target list of employers and others you want to meet. When coming up with that list, be open-minded. Remember, a technology company offers more than just technology jobs. They may have Marketing, Human Resources, Sales, Finance, and many other types of jobs. Likewise, a non-profit organization may be looking for similar positions in Human Resources, Finance, Fund-Raising, Research, etc.
- Create a list of questions to ask employers or attendees.
- Practice your 30 second introduction.
Building your brand
Think about who you are and what ideals you represent. What kind of opportunity are you looking for? What some of the strength that define who you are? Can you describe your ideal work environment? Really think about the type of position and company that will best align with your brand and identity.
During the event
- As you approach the recruiter or contact, introduce yourself. Maintain good eye contact, smile, and shake their hand.
- Ask them questions that you prepared prior to the event.
- Before you leave, make sure that you've give them a copy of your résumé or a business card, and that you get their business card as well.
After the event
- Go through all the business cards you received and make notes about the contacts while the information is fresh in your mind. Remember to keep track of all contacts in an Excel sheet, calendar, phone or any other organization system. Make notes of when you need to follow-up.
- Follow-up with thank-you emails or hand-written letters. Make it personalized to each contact and to the specific occasion that you met the person (the thank you e-mails link is for an information interview, so tailor your email to an event). If possible, try to mention something memorable about your conversation.
- Schedule informational interviews with contacts that you wanted to talk to longer.