There are many companies and potential employers at the Career Fair. Even though you do not have a concrete professional goal in mind, its pays off to visit career fairs or other recruiting events. You will have the opportunity to socialise and find important contacts for future internships, for a topic of a thesis or a career entry. Furthermore you will get the chance to receive a first impression of different companies and to leave a positive mark about yourself.
You should be clear about what goals you want to combine with the career fair. Do you want to collect information about potential employers? Or do you want to apply for a job with a specific company? In order to market yourself best, we recommend you prepare a short one minute self-presentation.
Do some research on the list of participating companies and make a hit list of up to 10 companies you want to contact. Then you should do intensive research about your favourites. Sources can be the website of the company, online job databases or private contacts.
In our view it is essential that you have prepared properly and that you can ask purposeful questions. Write down different questions for each potential employer. Examples could be: In what areas is an internship possible? What will I learn and what is expected from me? What is the time frame? What qualifications are interesting for your company? How does the company support the development of its employees? In the case of entry positions, are there certain predefined career paths? Are stays abroad possible? Does the company offer Trainee Programmes? What has to be considered when applying for a job?
In order not to get stressed and under time pressure unwillingly, set up a personal time schedule for your company visits, workshops, presentations and other offers.
Update your CV and print it several times so that you can hand it out to companies if requested
When contacting company representatives you want to leave a good impression. A smart and professional appearance is the basis for it. We recommend business attire in order to support a successful visit at the career fair.
Be an interested and interesting counterpart and try to find out quickly whether the company is really attractive for you. If you realize that the company does not appeal to you, keep the conversation short. Respect in any case the limited time of all participants. And ask at the end of the conversation for a business card so that you can make use of your new contacts when you want to apply for a job.
Be aware about your body language. Paul Watzlawick brings it to the point: You cannot not communicate. Observe yourself how you sit, stand and how you use your hands and legs. Be authentic and show a honest interest in your counterpart.
Try to maintain the business contacts you have established and expand on them. Express your interest in the company, make reference to meeting them at the career fair and thank them via e-mail for the interesting conversation. Once you apply for a job use the information that you received during your conversation at the career fair. Send your documents directly to the contact person or to the HR department and refer to the conversation at the fair stand.
When you are invited for an interview be glad about this success. You do not have to be a super hero, but have the opportunity to present your competencies and personality during a personal conversation. Know what you want, what you can offer and where you want to go in the future.
A targeted and professional preparation is an important part of how to actively shape your life and the earlier you start with planning your career the earlier you will get happiness and success at work. The Career Services Center at the University of St.Gallen (CSC-HSG) is happy to support you. The CSC team offers professional career counselling and has close contacts to companies so that it knows what their requirements are. Make use of this service!
You can edit your profile on hsgcareer.ch here.