The UGA Alumni Career Fair on June 8, 2016, at the Cobb Galleria Centre in Atlanta, GA, is an easy way for alumni to meet recruiters, network for positions, and gather company information. Below are 5 ways to help you prepare to make sure you leave a great first impression.
1. Get Your Resume Ready
Create your resume and make sure it’s updated. If you need help with updating your resume, check out a few sample alumni resumes here. Bring at least 10 printed copies to the fair to give to employers. Remember: one copy of your resume will be used as your ticket in, so plan accordingly.
2. Dress to Impress
Dress in business professional attire. Be conservative with cologne, perfume, and cosmetics. Carry a padfolio with your materials to stay organized. Be sure to turn off your cell phone and do not chew gum.
3. Do Your Homework (yes, homework!)
While it may have been quite some time since you’ve completed homework, know that doing your homework before a Career Fair is essential! Review the list of employers attending the fair and identify your top 3-5 companies. Use the internet, company website, LinkedIn, Glassdoor.com, and outside publications like Fortune, Forbes, The Wall Street Journal, and Business Week to conduct your research.
Things you can look for when researching might include:
• What’s the company’s mission statement?
• Where is it located? Are there multiple locations/offices?
• What good or service does the company provide?
• How old is the company?
• What is the company’s organizational structure?
• Who is the CEO/President?
• How many people work for the company?
• How has the company recently appeared in the news?
• Who is the company’s competitor?
• What are some major trends in the industry?
• How do they describe themselves?
• How do you fit their profile?
• Do you have real-life examples to demonstrate that fit?
• How can you help them achieve their goals?
• What are the key things they want?
• How can you contribute to their efforts?
4. Practice Your Approach
Prepare and practice your ‘pitch’. Your pitch might go something like this:
“Good afternoon [Mr./Ms. Last Name]. My name is [your first and last name]. I read on your company website that you are a leader in the tech industry, and I am looking to transition into a new role with a company like yours. I have gained experience making mobile apps and managing a website in my current role. I believe this experience paired with my MIS degree from UGA make me an excellent candidate for your software developer position. Could you tell me more about it?
Feel free to tweak the above to make it your own. It’s important to be patient when waiting to speak to employers and show enthusiasm! Above all, be confident and network independently.
5. Seal the Deal
Before leaving a booth, collect business cards from the employers. Did you have a good conversation? Jot down some of the high points on the back of the business card or in your padfolio. This way, when you follow-up, you’ll be able to tailor your correspondence and remind them of your conversation. Be sure to follow-up via email within 24 hours.
Here’s a sample Career Fair follow-up email:
I recently spoke with you at the UGA Alumni Career Fair held at the Cobb Galleria Centre, Atlanta, GA. I wanted to thank you for taking the time to speak with me, and for providing me with valuable information about the job opportunities at Company Name, Inc. I was very excited to hear that you are currently recruiting UGA alums for positions in your marketing department. My varied experience in marketing and sales, combined with my research background in psychology are my strongest qualifications for a marketing position at Company Name, Inc.
I am enthusiastic about pursuing a career in marketing with Company Name, Inc., because of its diverse product line and international scope and would welcome the opportunity to meet with you to discuss my qualifications in more detail. I can be reached at _____ or by email at _____. I look forward to hearing from you soon.
Your Name Here
You’ll be sure to shine at that the UGA Alumni Career Fair should you put these tips into practice.