Career fair tips?

Hey guys.

Going to my first university career fair this week. Going to try to act humble and not arrogant and interested to learn like everyone has told me on here to do countless times. Anything else? Should I just be confident and go up and introduce myself and tell them why I am interested in their company? They will all be interviewing on campus, so they will definitely be hiring some people. Just looking for general advice. Thanks.

Fifteen percent unless the service is exceptional, then 20%.

@ VI : If you have really realised the need to “act humble and not arrogant and (be) interested to learn” you have won half the battle. You are certainly talented and have the confidence (as we can make out from your fighting spirit – logical or not) and have the potential to be a successful fresher in terms of smart offers you may manage to garner. Just remember as the things stand now you require them more than they require you and they should feel your suitability by themselves with necessary evidence emerging out of your presentation and interaction.

Introducing yourself proactively is advised only when you are deeply aware of the company’s background and status and you have prepared yourself well to answer “all the why’s and what’s” (e.g. why our organization, why should we take/ need you, what’s the role you think is fit for you in our organisation and why etc.) to convince them that it is not only the reputation or standing that makes you approach them (many from your batch will do so only for these reasons and the company HR can fathom it after 5 minutes of interaction). So your ‘why you are interested’ have to be really convincing and not a run of the mill rationalization. If you have even iota of doubt about your preparedness avoid offering your services at the fair itself, instead just find out what they would want in near future and how you can fit the bill and follow up later.

It will also be advisable to have some versions of your cv (not produced by simply by a cut-paste job but) actually tailored to highlight the skills and requirements of the functions of the openings and /or the operational needs of the identified company - to be presented, if needed (carefully mark them not to get mixed up - that will be a tragedy!). Finally, don’t overdo it. Wishing all the best.

Thanks, Mygos. Great post. appreciate the help. and thank you for the kind words as well.

Interesting comment about taking a more relaxed approach to the companies unless I really knew them intimately. I hadnt considered that. My plan was to find 10-20 companies on the list that I thought sounded good and study up on them a little bit so I could sound pretty knowledgable.

The problem is, there will be over 130 companies, and i know to a certain extent which ones will be hiring finance types, but i do not know all of them, and additionally, i do not always know exactly what the positions are and their duties and whatnot, so perhaps that plays into your more cautious and investigatory approach that you had mentioned.

What is frustating is, like i said, there are some companies that will be there that i do not know what positions they are actually hiring for, so i will have to simply go up and ask, “are you hiring finance people?”, which i feel like doesnt make the best impression. I guess it’s really all i can do in that situation. especially because i keep hearing about how you need to be very familiar with companies at the career fair.

And if they happen to say “yes, we are hiring finance people”, is it appropriate for me to ask for more info about the position, or should i just immediately start selling myself without being too picky? I feel like asking a bunch of questions to them might be arrogant or overly selective, but at the same time, it seems a little silly to sell yourself for a position you dont know much about.

Seems like there is a tough balance between being interested and asking questions, and being confident and knowledgable.

It’s all about the type of questions you ask. Don’t come across as a snarky know-it-all, quizzing them about their balance sheet and telling them how to run their business. Just be polite and say you are interested in the company, could they tell you more about what their finance professionals do, or if there is one there that could tell you about a typical day and all that BS.

^ that’s easy to avoid. Definitely wasn’t planning on any indepth questions like that. I was just afraid those basic questions you mentioned might be too superficial and seem like I wasn’t truly interested enough in the company. I guess what I don’t understand is, is a career fair more for companies to advertise and tell people about their company, or are they genuinely interested in finding and hiring the best people? Do they show up with the intent of, “we are advertising today” or “we are getting us some good employees today”. If it’s the former, it seems like your questions would be good, but if it’s the latter, I feel like I would need to be super knowledgable

And thank you for the comment, input, and thoughts!

don’t forget to tip the boy handing out the flyers. or the janitor cleaning out the garbage.

You should be confident in your ability to learn whatever you need and you should be enthusiastic in your interest. You can discuss things you have done to date that you think have moved your forward to be a good candidate, but remember that that can be a double edged sword: you might dazzle them with your amazing accomplishments, or you might reveal to them that you did some dumb things that you still think are brilliant things.

At career fairs, I think a positive energy, some spunk, some pro-activeness in the sense of not being afraid to introduce yourself and ask what kinds of roles they are hiring and what the key qualifications of their ideal candidate would be is useful.

Remember that what a hiring manager wants to see is:

  1. basic competence, or the ability/willingness to learn (if there are small competence/experience gaps)

  2. professionalism, and a sense that there is a fit with company culture (which you can’t always get a full read on at a jobs faire, but it is legitimate to ask what the company culture is like, what values are prioritized, etc.)

  3. a desire to have that job (i.e. a worker who wants to do what’s being offered, as opposed to a worker who feels either a) any job will do, or b) they’re only taking it because there’s nothing else on offer, or c) the job is really kind of beneath them.)

^thanks. Love the three things they’re looking to see. Will try to focus on all three the entire time