How to talk to employers at the Career Fair

It’s almost go time! The CPCC Career Fair is next week. Hopefully by now a career counselor has reviewed your resume (if not, email it to Career Services to receive feedback) and you’ve been researching and identifying companies you plan to meet with at the event.

What are you going to say to the recruiters at the fair?

Don’t walk up to a recruiter’s table and wait for them to start the conversation. Additionally, don’t just hand them your resume and walk away.

How you interact with employers can make or break your chances of landing an interview. Use the following steps – Start, State, Summarize, Seek – to increase your chances of receiving that email or phone call inviting you for an interview.

Start with hello, a firm handshake and an introduction. Give your name, academic program and your anticipated graduation date.

State your hook. The hook grabs the recruiter’s attention. It sparks their interest and encourages them to listen further and ask questions. Some sample hooks include:

  • “I’m really interested in talking to you about why my skills and qualifications match the positions you’re recruiting for.”
  • “I’ve researched your company and the job opportunities and I’d like to talk to you about how my qualifications best fit your needs.”
  • “I’m so happy to be able to talk with you. Your company is one of particular interest to me and I’d like to tell you why.”
  • “Your company is one that I’m very interested in joining. My education and skills set really match the qualifications you’re seeking.”

Summarize your skills in a 30 second PR pitch. Some call it an elevator speech; others call it a PR pitch. Either way, it’s a brief mention of the qualifications you can bring to the company. Practice this pitch before the career fair! Use the Career Services elevator speech guidelines to help.

Seek out information about the company. In other words, ask questions! Ask open-ended questions that show you’ve done your research and want to know more.

At the end of your conversation, thank the recruiter for their time, shake hands again and say you look forward to hearing from them. Ask for a business card – you’ll need it for follow up correspondence later.

Spend the next week practicing your handshake, eye contact, hook and PR pitch. Doing so will help ease some of your nerves the day of the event.