Does anyone have advice for interacting with recruiters at a job or internship fair?

This week my university is hosting a co-op and internship fair, during which around 100 large and small companies will set up displays and meet students to screen them as potential candidates. There are optional on-campus interviews the next day, or an interview can be scheduled off-campus at a later date.

I went to one of these fairs in the fall, although that first one was geared mostly toward full-time positions; I was told by many to return in the spring.

I've been reviewing and updating my resume, preparing for a possible interview, and getting my suit in order. Any other tips?

bflynn's picture

Off the top of my head - I'm sure to miss something

Pick out 4-6 top companies and about another 8-12 secondary companies. Your goal is to make sure you talk to all the primary and as many of the secondary as possible. Research these companies. Know before you go what they do and what they're looking for. Customize your resume toward them.

Note the number of companies - 12-18. If you only spent 10 minutes talking with each, you'd have 2-3 hours of time talking. Mentally, you'll be drained by the end. You won't talk to all 100. If you talk to 18, you'll be a superman.

Work out your 30 second commercial of yourself. I won't try to write one on the fly - they never come out right. Be sure to talk about the job, their company and how you can help them, not what you want. This is about them. Get the focus right and you'll be in the top 10% already. A job interview is only about you when you are the subject and you'll know because the recruiter will ask you. Otherwise, keep your mindset on what you can do for them.

Day of the career fair, arrive as early as possible. If I was feeling a little nervous (why), I used to start with a secondary company, but if there's no jitters, just right into it. Remember - great big smile, great handshake, positive energy and get at it.

At the end, Close. "It has been great talking with you and its made me even more excited about the possibility of working for you. I would like to have an interview tomorrow."

Take a break, make some notes, collect yourself. Select the next company, get yourself psyched up - Big Smile, great handshake and go to it.

Hope this helps - this is entirely off the cuff, so I'm sure I'm not remembering something helpful, but hopefully this can help set you apart.


XOLegato's picture

Thanks a ton, Brian. You gave me a lot of great ideas to work with, I'll post here again to let you know how it worked out.