Attending the Boise State Career Fair is somewhat of an intimidating idea for many people. Your brain may be flooding with questions like, “how should I prepare,” or maybe, “how do I start a conversation with an employer?” If the mere thought of attending a career fair has your mind buzzing with questions and nerves, you’re not alone. Thoughts like this are completely normal, which is why I met with Sophia Mosshart, Talent Acquisition Specialist at Insight Global, who regularly attends the Boise State Career Fair and seeks out potential new employees. Sophia provided me with helpful tips for students on how to get the most out of the career fair, coming from the perspective of an employer.
The first step of any career fair is prep. So how can you get yourself ready for the event? A helpful tip from Sophia: post on LinkedIn about going to the career fair. This is a surefire way to catch employers’ attention and create connections before the actual event. Using LinkedIn is also a way that you can engage with employers ahead of time, which will help you appear more proactive. Updating your LinkedIn to say that you’re open to work, as well as listing what field you’re aiming to go into after graduation are also great ways to make yourself stand out more.
Of course, it’s also very important to print out and bring along a few copies of your resume to give to employers that you chat with; bringing a folder to keep everything in doesn’t hurt, either. Another main question that is common when it comes to the career fair is attire; what is appropriate to wear? Remembering to keep it professional is key – business casual is appropriate with a button-down shirt, slacks and a dress or skirt being some good options.
Taking a proactive approach
Now that you’re all set to attend the career fair, let’s address what comes next: approaching employers! This crucial step can be nerve-racking, but fear not – Sophia provided some valuable tips to help guide you through this process. A proactive approach involves researching companies beforehand. Sophia advises that a well-prepared student not only looks at the company ahead of time but also engages in conversations by asking for more information about the company. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach, but confidence and a clear understanding of what you’re looking for can significantly enhance your engagement. To effectively promote your qualifications, Sophia advised being thoughtful. Consider what you’ve done previously that aligns with the career booth you’re talking to, whether it’s directly career-related or involves extracurricular activities. Demonstrating your hard work and involvement, even in extracurriculars, showcases your dedication and transferable skills.
As you navigate the career fair, it’s crucial to be aware of certain red flags that could impact the impression you leave on employers. Here are a few things to steer clear of during your interactions. Along with topics we’ve discussed, such as having a resume on hand and dressing professionally, be sure to demonstrate readiness and professionalism. When communicating during the event, let your personality shine, but remember that the individuals you’re engaging with could be your potential employers. The short conversation you have may influence their perception of your ability to communicate with clients or staff. Additionally, if the recruiter seems similar in age to you, maintaining professional communication is crucial.
After a worthwhile conversation with an employer at the career fair, the next steps are crucial. If you find that the company aligns with your interests, don’t hesitate to follow up. While at their booth, ask for a business card or inquire if they’re on LinkedIn for future contact. Sophia recommends reaching out within two days, ensuring the conversation is still fresh in both your minds.
Congratulations on navigating your way through a successful interaction with a potential employer! Now, it’s time to expand your horizons. Move on to other tables and repeat the process. Always remember that employers are there for you — they’re prepared to invest time in meaningful conversations. Career Services is always available for further assistance, but we hope this guide enriches your career fair experience.
(Written by Lacey Jensen, senior Integrated Media and Strategic Communications major)