Asked by Marley on May 17, 2018
Answered by Natesa, Hiring Expert at Textron Inc., on May 17, 2018
Thanks for asking! Career fairs are one of the easiest way for companies to meet potential employees. Your preparation will depend on what exactly you are looking for/what year in school you are in. You shouldn’t necessarily expect an interview or a job from a career fair, but it’s one of the best places to start your search. Companies attend career fairs because they have open positions that need to be filled.
Typically, companies do not hire freshmen for internships, so as a freshman, it’s a great idea to go to the career fair for practice – walk around, talk to a few companies, and try to get some feedback on your resume. Career fairs are also a great way to network and meet individuals working in your desired industry. Depending on your major and career aspirations, career fairs as a sophomore and junior should be spent trying to find an internship. You should research a few of the companies that are going to attend, decide who you may want to talk to, and prepare yourself like you’re going into an interview. Seniors attend career fairs to look for full time jobs post-graduation. A career fair at this level requires more preparation, because the stakes are potentially higher.
There are different types of career fairs – fairs hosted by universities, technical fairs, fairs hosted by communities. Regardless of what kind of fair you are attending, you should go in with the intent of finding career opportunities. Hope this helps!
Answered by Hector, Hiring Expert at Tenneco, on May 18, 2018
You should absolutely prepare to find a job! Some companies will attend job fairs to source candidates for later opportunities, but even then you are setting yourself up for future options. Other companies are indeed looking to fill open spots they have today. Always come prepared to these. You never know who you will network with that could help set up your career path, be a future customer, future supplier, etc.
To be prepare, I would encourage you to understand your interests first. Nothing worst than someone coming to your booth and having no clue what they want. Have an undestanding of what you are passionate about. Once you have that, focus on what companies/organizations will be there. Do some research on which ones best align best with you (their values, company culture, what they sell, do they give back to the community - etc again specific to what is important to you). Once you know that, pick your top organizations. Make sure your resume is specific to those organizations. You don't have to build 15 different resumes, but you should have some key elements that match the employer if possible, since the jobs they offer will differ.
Lastly, practice. I know it sounds silly but meeting someone for the first time in this environment is kind of like presenting in front of class. If you didn't practice and don't know your content you won't get the best impact. Be prepared to share why you would be a good fit for the organization (not arrogant, just confident) and ask great questions (not items you can find on the website).
Good Luck - Thanks - Hector Hernandez - Tenneco