What I Have Learned From a Year of Talking with Recruiters

By: Amanda

As some of you may know, I work for Career & Internship Services as the Communication Student Assistant. For the past year, I have attended over 8 job and internship fairs. Throughout these fairs I have connected with over 50 recruiters, asking them the burning questions that fair-goers are thinking, but are not able to ask. Today I will compile the top tips I have learned. 

Young woman standing on a platform.
Amanda working at the STEM Job & Internship Fair.

Ask employers about themselves. Numerous recruiters have shared that some of the best questions students ask are variations of “Can you tell me about your story and career path?” 

Make it an “elevator conversation,” rather than“elevator pitch.”  Avoid a long, drawn-out introduction. Instead, keep it conversational and light the entire time. Make sure to include your name, major, and year. Then go into what interests you most about the company and ask a question. There’s no need to ramble any further than this. 

Understand the roles the company is hiring for. One of the best things you can do before the fair is to research the positions your desired company is hiring for. Ask them if they have any tips for the application process. Ask specific questions about the role. Display a forward-thinking mindset and ask where career paths from the role can lead.

Start with the Handshake description. Oftentimes, GoldPASS powered by Handshake has a description of the company. This is a good starting place for doing research.

Go beyond the company website. Check out the company’s social media pages. Look for volunteer work or philanthropy they are doing. This is one way to show recruiters you are willing to go above and beyond!

back of young woman's head and she's holding a phone. you see on the screen what she's taking a picture of.
Amanda working at the UMN Job & Internship Fair.

Make your graduation year prominent on your resume. This will help the recruiter be able to easily see what opportunities they have available that best fit your needs. 

Simplicity is key. Refine your experience section. Try not to use a fancy template, as this will distract from your content. Recruiters want to be able to easily see your information. 

If the company is interviewing the day of or day after, talk to them early. Many recruiters at the fair have told us that they fill their interview slots within the first half of the fair. If you know a company is interviewing on-campus the day of or day after, go chat with them right away.

Look up company leaders. Look online to learn about senior leadership within the company. Try to see how they got to their current role in the company. 

Follow up. Take a business card when you are at the fair and make sure to follow up afterward. Send a quick note on LinkedIn or an email. Include a few details on your conversation, as well as any questions you might have for them. Thank them for their time at the fair. Maybe, if you are interested in learning more about their role, try to set up a time for an informational interview.

All and all, one of the most important keys to attending a fair is to be yourself. As cliche as it is, when you let your personality shine through, you are able to have a genuine conversation with an employer. I hope these 10 tips can help you navigate your next fair!

Of Possible Interest:
How to Navigate Job Fair “Dead Ends”
What Now?! A Simple Guide for After the Job Fair
Job Fairs – all our blog posts on the topic
Mastering the Career Fair – our Pinterest board filled with articles & resources

Read Amanda’s other posts

Photo sources: UMD Career & Internship Services

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