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career fairs

Before the Fair | During the Fair | After the Fair |What to Wear | Working a Fair From a Distance

RIT sponsors and promotes a number of career fairs throughout the year. Find out detailed fair information, including job descriptions, through RIT Job Zone.


 

Upcoming Career Fairs

FEDERAL & PUBLIC SERVICE FAIR
January 19, 2011
CIMS, rooms 2210-2240
Open to RIT students and alumni only. Check out the Workshops related to this event!

PACKAGING CAREER FAIR
February 2nd and 3rd, 2011

Rochester Area Career Expo 2011 (RACE)
February 24, 2011 (Double Tree Inn, Jefferson Road)
Now in its 20th year, RACE is the premier college recruiting event in Rochester. Each year 350-400 college students representing 17 area colleges, most business and liberal arts grads, but many with degrees in human services and technical areas, meet with employers to discuss entry level employment, internship and cooperative education. Sponsored by Rochester area colleges.

SPRING CAREER FAIR
Wednesday, March 30, 2011, 11am-4pm Career Fair
March 31, 2011, 9am-4pm, Interview Day
Gordon Field House, 11:00 am - 4:00 pm

All majors, co-op or full-time! RIT students and alumni only.

CREATIVITY: CAREERS IN MOTION
April 14, 2011, Gordon Field House
Career Speakers| Portfolio Reviews| Industry Days
[More Info]

HOSPITALITY & SERVICE MGMT CAREER FAIR
Wednesday April 11th, 2011
1-3 PM
Louise Slaughter Building #78 rooms 2210/2220

The Hospitality & Service Management Career Fair brings together students from the School of International Hospitality & Service Innovation and employers from the hotel, healthcare, human resources and service industries.

TEACHER RECRUITMENT DAY
April 2011. More details coming soon.

ACCOUNTING CAREER FAIR
Fall 2011
Open to RIT students and alumni only.

FALL CAREER FAIR 2011
All majors, co-op or full-time! RIT students and alumni only.
Date To Be Determined


 

Intro to Career Fairs

Imagine a deck of cards sitting before you on the table. Now, pretend that instead of suits or numbers each card represents a potential job. You can shuffle through these at your leisure, picking and choosing which ones you like the best and which ones you’d like to try your
hand at.

Sounds nice, right? Believe it or not, such a concept does exist in real life. It’s called a career fair. Also called job fairs, these are events that take place on college campuses or other community locations. Employers use career fairs to promote their companies and employment opportunities. They set up booths manned by company representatives to speak briefly one-on-one with students/alumni interested in their company. There may be up to hundreds of employers at a single career fair. That’s a pretty formidable deck of cards.

Even if you’re only a first year student, or you don’t think you want to work for any of the companies that are coming, or any of a hundred other reasons that students/alumni can think of not to go to career fairs, they are still extremely beneficial. You can investigate career fields and positions for your major; meet representatives from companies for whom you are interested in working; get more information about specific companies; gain an opportunity for an interview with a company; get job and career advice from experts in the field and develop your network of contacts.

There are several things you can do to make the most out of your career fair experience. What follows is a series of strategies to use before, during, and after the career fair. It is through Job Zone that you can access details about our scheduled career fairs -- download a
JZ Career Fair Guide
for complete instructions.


Before the Fair – Prepare


Check with the Office of Co-op & Career Services or event sponsor to find out, ahead of time, which companies are coming to the event.  A good deal of information about participating companies can be found on the Office of Co-op & Career Services’ website prior to the event.

Research Companies of Interest to You
Check out the company website, company profiles in directories, and search for news articles about the company.  Finding out general information will allow you to ask intelligent questions of the recruiter, and learn where you might fit in at the company.

Update Your Resume
It is essential to have a resume that reflects your current skills and experiences, as most companies will be forwarding copies of resumes to many departments within their organization. Typos, grammatical errors, and inaccurate information are out of the question. The second an employer sees any of these, he or she will question your abilities, particularly your attention to detail. Make sure that others have proofread your resume for accuracy; your program coordinator in the Office of Co-op & Career Services is available to check it over. The resume itself must be well written and your accomplishments clearly stated. Be sure to include key words (or phrases) from the job description to show an alignment between your skill set and the opportunity you are interested in.

Be Prepared to Ask Questions
Try to have one or two questions in mind for each employer, based on your research of and interest in the company.  Do not ask the recruiters personal questions. (Sample questions are listed on page 4 of this handout.)

Know Yourself
Know why you want to work for the company, and be able to express your skills, accomplishments, and goals in a clear, concise manner.  Try to identify specific experiences where you have demonstrated your strengths and skills.

Learn to Sell Yourself Quickly
You’ll only have a few minutes to introduce yourself, show you know what the organization is about, and spark the recruiter’s interest in you for a future, more formal interview.  This is not easy, and takes preparation and practice – use a mirror, tape recorder, friend, or practice with your program coordinator in the Office of Co-op & Career Services.

Prepare Your “60 Second Commercial”
This will introduce you to the company representative, and let them know immediately what your interests and goals are.  Example:  “Good morning, I’m ________.  I will be graduating in May with a degree in __________, and am interested in the field/area of _________.  Can you tell me about current opportunities in this area at your company?”


During the Fair – Professionalism and Communication

Career fairs can be intimidating and overwhelming. The tips below will give you an idea of what to expect at the event, and how to get through it successfully.

What To Expect:
• A large room, with rows and rows of booths or tables of companies.

• Some will displays, others will not.

• It will be crowded, with long lines at some tables, and loud. Be prepared to wait.

• Student registration tables are usually located at the entrance to the fair. Here you will be asked to sign in, create a name tag, and you’ll be given a map and list of attending organizations.

• Some career fairs offer additional, more private space for employers to conduct formal interviews with students/alumni at or after the event.

What To Bring:
• Copies of your resume, transcript and samples of your work, if appropriate. (Note: because of new regulations, employers may need to track their applicants and for some companies the best first step is through their site.)

• A pad of paper and pen, to take notes.

• A briefcase or portfolio to carry your resumes and notes, and to store business cards and company literature.

Plan Your Strategy:
• Submit your resume ahead of time through the company's web site -- earn points by letting the recruiter know you have taken this initiative.

• Plan to arrive early and stay late – this will enable you to meet with every company in which you’re interested.

• After you check in, survey the layout of the fair on the map, and prioritize the employers with whom you’d like to speak, identify the information you want to get from them, and specify goals you hope to achieve.

• You may want to start by approaching organizations that have a lower priority, to get your feet wet and gain confidence before approaching your top choices.

• If there are long lines, revise your strategy – you can always come back later in the day.

Make A Good First Impression:
• Dress for success – interview attire is preferred. You should choose a conservative approach to your dress. Wear comfortable shoes, as you will be walking and standing for long periods of time. How you look will play a big part in determining employer interest.

• Approach the employer, shake hands, smile, and introduce yourself. Remember to maintain eye contact. Be enthusiastic!

• Avoid distracting behaviors such as smoking, gum chewing, eating or drinking while with employers.

• Be polite – don’t interrupt the employer reps or your fellow job-seekers, don’t monopolize the recruiter’s time.

What should I wear?
You will notice that most representatives will be dressed in business casual, however, business suits are still the professional standard for attendees. Wear minimal cologne or perfume, have clean, trimmed fingernails and avoid gum chewing. Also remember to turn your cell phone off or put it on silent.

Good
Not So Good

Good
These men look very professional--the right suit, haircut, shoes and portfolios. You are hired!

Good6
Nice suit -- and always a good idea to take a break between each company table to strategize your next move.

Good
Not So Good

Good2
Professional looking candidates -- neat hairstyle, great suits and carrying portfolios.

Bad4
So close! Nice suit, but if you had only left the white sox and comfy shoes at home.

Good5
A pulled together look -- this woman projects confidence and preparation.

Bad3
Let's go clubbing! No, let's go to a career fair, dress as you would for an interview.

Market Yourself:
• Be memorable – conversations may seem casual, but you are actually being evaluated. Be direct and visible so recruiters will remember you and what you said.

• Start with your “one minute commercial” to introduce yourself. The goal is to connect your background to the organization’s needs.

• You may only have two to five minutes to market yourself and gain an interview, so make the most of your time. Prepare answers to interview questions as you would for any interview. Be prepared to explain why you came to the company’s table, and what skills and qualifications you have to offer the company.

• Be articulate, and show confidence in your voice. The room will be noisy, and you’ll need to speak clearly and avoid using filler words, such as “um,” “like,” “you know.”

• As you leave each employer, learn what the next step in their process is and what, if anything, you should do to advance your candidacy.



Career Fair Tips:

• Make sure you get the representative’s business card. Take time to make notes of your discussion after you finish speaking with each company, before you move on. Without notes, you may become confused if you’ve visited several companies in quick succession. Use the back of the business card, or jot notes on your notepad.

• Explore all your options – speak with companies you may not have considered before.

• Don’t wait in long lines early in the fair – these tend to create tension.

• Make the most of your wait in line – get company literature from the table before you get in line, so you can read about the company while waiting.

• Don’t just randomly hand out resumes – if you’re not interested in a company, don’t approach them. It would only be a waste of time for both of you.

• Don’t be disappointed when you finally get your chance to talk with the recruiter and they encourage you apply through their site, rather than take your resume. Because of new regulations, employers may need to track their applicants and for some companies the best first step is through their site.

• If the company representative works in a different field than the one you’re interested in, do still talk with the company, being sure to leave with the contact information for the person responsible for hiring in that area; don’t be discouraged and walk away.

• Network with your fellow job-seekers – share information about job leads, companies, and their recruiting strategies and styles.

• Don’t expect to be offered a job at the career fair, but it is not uncommon to get offered an interview. Know your schedule, and schedule any interview you can attend. If you’re not interested in the company, do not take the interview.

• Be polite at all times. The person you meet in the parking lot, elevator, hallway, or restroom may be a recruiter you’ll see later that day.

• If you expect companies to call for an interview/follow-up, make sure you have a “serious” message on your answering machine, or that you have roommates that can take a message for you.

• Smile, relax and be yourself.


After the Event – Follow Up

Follow-up is a very important, yet an often neglected step in the career fair process. Few job seekers actually take the time to follow up on their career fair interviews, so if you follow these steps, you will have an edge over candidates who don’t!

Can I Follow Up With All Employers?
It won’t be possible to follow up with every employer and company that attends the career fair. It’s up to you to find out what you to do for follow up with each company in which you are interested. Also, make sure you know who you’re talking to; get a business card or write down the recruiter’s name after you talk. This will make follow up a lot easier.

How Do I Follow Up?
When you talk with a company representative, ask what the next step in the process is, and how you should follow up with them. Some companies will simply refer you to the web site to complete an application, or collect your resume, and indicate you’ll be contacted if there is interest in interviewing you. In these instances, the representative may not have a business card for you to take, or won’t give out their contact information, and there will be no way for you to follow up. Don’t be frustrated – this doesn’t mean there are no jobs at these companies, it just means you’ll need to go through a different process to get at them.

Other representatives will have business cards, and will indicate that it’s okay for you to follow up. In this case, you should send a thank you note (email, typed or handwritten) to the employer. Use your notes about your discussion to help you personalize your note; remind the employer that you talked with them at the career fair, reinforce how your skills and qualifications will be an asset to the company, and reiterate that you’re interested in an interview. Send an additional resume with your thank you note. Don’t assume that all resumes collected at the fair are saved.

Make a follow up phone call within a week to ten days after the event. Restate your interest in the company and position, find out if you are still being considered for an opening and when you might hear about interview arrangements.

How Can I get a List of Companies and Contacts?
If you’re not sure whether a company is agreeable to follow up, or you have lost a business card, the Office of Co-op & Career Services will have the contact information of all company representatives who are willing to have students/alumni contact them after the career fair.

How Do I Follow Up After An Interview?
If you do have an interview following the career fair, make sure to send a thank you note to the interviewer within 48 hours of the interview. Thank the employer for the interview, reiterate your interest in the company and position, and how you will be an asset to the company.

Be realistic in your career fair expectations; don’t expect to get a job on the spot. A career fair is just one step in the job search process, but is a good way to expand your network, learn more about the job market, and develop possible job leads.


 

Working A Career Fair From A Distance

Career Fair events are happening throughout the year – but did they check with you first to see if you were free that day?  If you are not able to attend a career fair, there are still some ways you can take advantage of the opportunity to connect with representatives, and find out about opportunities.

Look at the list of participating companies
If they are coming to a fair, they are most likely hiring -- a company is in good financial shape or has a bright outlook if they are willing to spend the money to travel to a career fair. 
Learn about new companies, find out how others are doing.  A career fair can showcase industry leaders that may not have big name recognition but may be a perfect fit for what you hope to do.
Many companies take the time to submit job descriptions prior to their visit to campus, go ahead and apply to them! For example, the career fair job descriptions can be found in Job Zone. Here’s how you can identify them:  Login to Job Zone/click on ‘Jobs’ on the top toolbar/Put "CF" in the keyword search box.

Apply through the company web site
Always apply to openings through their site.  Even if you can come to the career fair, companies want you to submit your resume through their site because it helps them track candidates. So in this way, you are on a level playing field with students who do attend a fair.

Use the career fair contacts
Check with your program coordinator in the Co-op and Career Services Office – we have a database of thousands of company contacts.
Recruiters from a fair, open to being contacted, will be on a list after the fair for student follow up.

Remember, no one gets hired just as a result of a career fair conversation – it is just a point of contact that can help move you along in the hiring process. Candidates have follow up interviews (phone or even via a webcam) or get invited to interview on site as a result of attending a fair.  You are just missing out on that initial contact a career fair can offer – but there are ways to overcome that advantage.