A career fair is an exposition for employers, recruiters and schools to meet with prospective job seekers, like students from YTI Career Institute. The Pennsylvania School of Culinary Arts, a division of YTI Career Institute- Lancaster, recently had a career fair for culinary students and alumni. Employers locally and out of state, including Legends Hospitality – Lancaster Clipper Magazine Stadium, Hershey Entertainment and Resort Company, The Greenbrier Resort in White Sulphur Springs, WV and Omni Bedford Springs Resort, were eager to meet new prospects. Students were encouraged to collect employer information, network and set up interviews.
Chef Ed Dodds, Senior Career Services Specialist at YTI Career Institute- Lancaster, says, “Present yourself as a professional. Take time and make sure you are prepared.” He summarizes how to get the most out of a career fair below:
WHY SHOULD I ATTEND THE CAREER FAIR?
The purpose of attending a career fair is more than to just find a job. You can:
- Establish contacts
- Explore career options
- Gather information
WHY DO EMPLOYERS ATTEND CAREER FAIRS?
Employers want to fill immediate openings. But they also want to:
- Provide career information
- Make contact with prospective future employees
- Advertise their company and products
WHAT SHOULD I DO BEFORE I ATTEND?
To be successful at a career fair, you need to PREPARE! You should:
- Obtain a list of employers that will be attending
- Choose the employers of most interest to you, narrow your focus
- Research your selected companies
- Clarify your own career goals so you can effectively speak to an employer about your interest
WHAT SHOULD I BRING WITH ME?
- A black pen
- A small notebook for notes. Take a few minutes after each employer visit to jot down some of the information you discussed. This will help you remember your conversation so you can follow up with the employer.
- Multiple copies of your resume on neutral resume paper
- A nice portfolio or folder to organize your materials
HOW DO I PRESENT MYSELF IN A PROFESSIONAL MANNER?
- Wear conservative, well pressed clothing in dark colors (a suit if possible), remove all visible facial piercings and keep accessories and jewelry to a minimum. Maintain an overall professional look.
- When introducing yourself to an employer, offer a firm handshake and maintain eye contact
- State your name, major and career interests with confidence
- Offer the recruiter a copy of your resume
- Ask about career opportunities in your area of interest
- Inform the employer of your skills and what you can offer the company
- Always be enthusiastic and confident – SMILE!
- Request a business card
- Take employers’ literature
- Take notes after each meeting to remember important information
- Neatly organize your information in your portfolio
WHAT ELSE CAN I DO TO IMPRESS AN EMPLOYER?
- Do research on the companies attending that you are interested in. Read reviews, check out their website, etc.
- Create a portfolio- include your resume, copies of references, certificates and samples of your work. This gives you the opportunity to show off your skills and experiences.
- FOLLOW UP! After meeting with the employer take some time to write a thank you note to the person who interviewed you. Let them know if you are interested in the position. Send a thank you letter even if you are not interested in working for that company. It is always important to make a good impression. You may never know when you may cross paths with that individual in the future.