Are you a fresh graduate / college student looking for your first job or internship opportunity?
Finding your first job may seem daunting. You may be nervous about your first interviews and wonder how to make a good impression and how to communicate your skills to recruiters.
Career and job fairs held by your university, both locally and virtually, are great ways to connect with employers and obtain job interviews. These can give you experience in communicating with employers and learning about the different types of organizations and jobs available. In addition, you can get opportunities for internships, which can progress into full time employment.
Here are tips to help you improve your performance as you meet with potential employers in interviews and job fairs:
1. The way to succeed at interviews and career job fairs is to have a warm, friendly, easy going and confident personality. Be yourself and don’t appear anxious or afraid. You don’t need to know everything. After all, you’re a student/ fresh graduate. Just talk about what you know in a relaxed manner. A smile and a friendly personality go a long way in helping you succeed in any social setting.
2. Be well prepared. Decide what you will say and how to present it in advance.
3. When interacting with employers, be confident. Ask valuable questions, not something you could have learned easily such as from the employer website.
4. Have copies of your CV / resume and cover letter to give out. Even if you’ve already emailed your CV to the employer, take some good quality copies of your resume to the interview / job fair with you.
5. If you have a portfolio of work you’ve done – pictures, designs, awards, etc – keep a high quality copy to show to your interviewer. Alternatively, you can provide a link to your online portfolio or offer to email one, although a printed portfolio may be preferable.
6. Talk about the job you are seeking, your interest in the job position / degree program you are studying and the skills you’ve learned through internships / projects.
7. Talk about what makes you a valuable employee – what skills you have that are required for the job, what skills make you stand out from other job seekers – in a confident but not arrogant manner. Show confidence but not arrogance.
8. Dress professionally. How you dress not only affects how others perceive you but your own confidence too. Dress well and you will feel more confident too.
9. Last but not least, think long term. Job fairs are not just places where you can find short term summer internships but opportunities to connect with employers. Use them to obtain contact information of hiring managers of companies you want to work at so you can apply for jobs once you graduate.
Use the above tips to prepare for your meeting with potential employers at job fairs and plan your career future.
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Written by Kokab Rahman.
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