Saturday, February 23, 2013

My Campus Playbook - What to do if you miss the career fair

As the spring college recruiting season starts to kick into high gear, it got me thinking a bit about two things.  First, are these fairs worth it for students?  And secondly, what do you do if you’re a student who can’t make it....well, here we go.

Are career fairs worth it?  Without a doubt these fairs are worth it if you are a student looking for a job.  Tons of companies and recruiters descend on campus to hire as many students as the’s really a no brainer for you to attend.  If nothing else, it’s great interview practice to talk to so many companies over the course of a few hours.

What do you do if you can’t make it?  Now this is a bit more complicated b/c a lot of companies view career fairs as their primary recruiting vehicle on campus.’ve got to have a plan.  Here is what I’d do....

1) Ask your friends for connections - Chances are you’ve got a friend who attended the fair and met a ton of folks.  Ask them if they don’t mind either sharing names of people they met...or even pass out your resume to a few places for you.  Most companies are hiring for multiple roles so no fear of competition here so your friends should be a great asset.

2)  Ask your professors - Professors are great connections for you.  They have former students that work at great companies and in many cases may have worked in industry before becoming a professor.  They’ll likely be able to connect you with a few alumni too.

3) Go to Career Services or the Alumni Office - Schools have these offices for a use them.  Now, don’t show up expecting a job...go there with a plan.  Ask for company contacts or lists of alumni that have registered themselves with the school.  Basically, these offices should be able to provide you with enough leads to jumpstart your career.

4)  Start Networking via LinkedIn - The sooner you start your LinkedIn profile the better but get that going and start reaching out to folks who might help.  Research companies, groups, alumni associations, anything really that might help you find a cool gig.  There is no such thing as too aggressive when using LinkedIn for a job search

5) Ask your parents - Huh? What?  I bet you didn’t expect this one but it’s true.  You really have no clue who your parents know...sure you know a few of their friends but your parents likely have a big network of folks they can tap for you.....the trick is asking and making sure they realize you need help.  So, suck it up and ask mom/dad for some advice you might be surprised at what comes back.

Hope this helps, missing a college career fair should be fatal to your just have to work a little harder.

Good luck out there, let me know if I can help!

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