Preparing for a Career Fair

By Cyndi D. Lynch

Graduate Student Professional Development, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN

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    Jayanth Alangar

    3.0 out of 5 stars

    This presentation mainly seemed to give an overview of career fairs to an audience that had never been to one before.  For those of us who have attended many career fairs and had internships, this seemed very basic.  I find it hard to believe that some of the things that the speaker discussed were unknown to all listeners.  For example, it is quite obvious what companies want in a career fair and what a student should be looking to gain from a career fair.  

    However, the speaker did mention a few suggestions of items that I have never even thought to ask at a career fair.  For example, I hadn’t thought to ask about company culture at a career fair.  I always felt like it’s a time to sell yourself and to find out those pieces of information at the interview stage.  However, Ms. Lynch has changed my mind on this concept by saying the information flow should go both ways.  I also never thought to write down what I was planning to say at a career fair and have set word limits and percentages of different topics.  Mostly, I’ve “winged it” by knowing what key points I wanted to hit and going from there based on the flow of the conversation.

    Lastly, it seemed that the speaker was a little uncomfortable with her speech? Not being able to see the video makes it a little difficult to gauge but it seemed she was lacking confidence.  Which I doubt is true since development is her strength and she is probably used to giving this presentation or something related. 

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    Srinath Lalpet

    3.0 out of 5 stars

    This presentation is extremely useful for someone like me who has never attended a career fair before. The speaker made me understand what exactly happens in a career fair and from the recruiters point of view. They come all the way investing time and money and its in the student's best interest to take advantage of that. The speaker also makes it clear the importance doing prior research on a specific company before approaching them during the career fair. Asking them the right questions is important to get a good impression and to achieve that, some level of pre-work is required. The speaker also talks about the importance of updating the resume for the career fair and provides some tips to do so. 

    The speaker spoke in a fluid and structured manner. This lecture is a great launchpad and I would recommend it to anyone who is new to career fairs.

     

     

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    Justine Saugen

    3.0 out of 5 stars

    Overall, the "Preparing for a Career Fair" lecture was helpful in providing some specifics to keep in mind when attending a career fair. I have listened to several of lectures like this and found information in this one that I hadn't heard before.

    Particularly, I had never thought about that fact that other colleagues would be there speaking with companies that I may be interested in, but not have enough time to speak with. I appreciated her advice about using these resources to gain as much information from the limited time at the career fair.

    I also feel as if she gave some good examples of questions to ask recruiters. Overall, these questions should be specific and about information you could not find on their websites. I have always had difficulty figuring out questions to ask because I felt like I could find all their information online. Some examples she gave that I definitely will be utilizing are things about the culture, how formal the dress code is, whether people tend to move horizontally within the company, and things in those areas, as well as specific skills or traits they look for in their candidates. These questions give clear information about the culture of the company and what they value in their employees, without asking directly what the culture is since most companies will tend to make their culture seem better than it may actually be.

    I feel as if some of the information presented, particularly at the beginning was very obvious things about career fairs. I feel as if this information could have taken less time so as to leave time for the things that people often overlook when it comes to career fairs. For example, I would have liked to have more information and applicable examples on networking narratives and perhaps less information about where to learn about companies online.

    I think there were some good tips on how to continue the conversation with a recruiter. Sometimes I have a hard time knowing what to talk about for the 5-10 minutes and I think there were some good examples of how to progress the conversation, such as learning what they expect as far as applications are concerned (whether to continue applying online or if meeting at the career fair is enough).

    Overall, the lecture had good content that was useful to even someone who has lots of experience at career fairs. The lecture was somewhat unorganized, it felt as if we jumped from talking to preparation to what you'll experience and back several times. Some information was also repeated so it gave the unorganized impression as well. All in all, though, I got good information and will definitely be able to utilize some of the advice given at the next career fair I attend.

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    Nitin Rathi

    4.0 out of 5 stars

    The seminar on 'Preparing for a Career Fair' by Cyndi Lynch covers not only topics pertaining to the day of  the career fair but also covers things to do before and after the career fair. The most informative part was how to prepare yourself for the day. There are a lot of students who attend the career fair and time management is of utmost importance. She talks about something called 'networking narrative' which is a kind of elevator speech but more focused on initiating a dialogue rather than telling everything you have done so far. She mentions some important topics to talk about with a recruiter. Avoid asking questions on things which are available publicly on their website, rather talk about work environment, company culture, things like work from home opportunities. She also mentions to prepare yourself to talk about what motivates you to join that company, rather than just saying that you are willing to work for anyone who offers a job. Another important resource available before the career fair day is the company presentations, you get a little bit more time to talk to the recruiters because not many students attend such presentations. On the career fair day dress professionally and while interacting with recruiters talk clearly, project your voice and avoid being distracted by other conversations going around.

    The seminar can be improved by mentioning some things that should be avoided during the career fair day, personal experiences from students who think what went wrong for them and how they improved on that.

       

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    Shabnam Ghotbi

    3.0 out of 5 stars

    The presentation was very informative although by participating in one of the job fairs we get most of the key points she mentioned in her talk. The thing that was interesting for me was the section of job search strategy that is essential to find a position as an internship or a career. Actually, having a good network can take months and years to be built.

    Besides the materials about finding the resources, she provided useful information about time management, providing a proper resume , preparing for job career and so on. 

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    Pushyami Rachapudi

    5.0 out of 5 stars

    This talk mostly is about preparing for career fairs. What can one expect from it and the benefits of it. For a freshly joined graduate student, career fairs can be very overwhelming. This kind of guide can really help for what to look for/expect from a career fair and also about do’s and dont’s. A particular point which was stressed upon is networking, which is in fact a very important concept. Its interesting to find out recruiter’s career fair goals. I felt the “before the fair” points are very helpful: Developing a job search strategy or constructing a networking narrative. CARS format for personal identity is very effective. Very little emphasis was made on resume but things to do on career fair and meeting with recruiters were discussed in detail.  I really feel managing time at the career fair is the most important topic addressed. Personally, I would say the take away points would be what to do after career fair. 

    The speaker presented at a very comfortable pace. The logical flow of the presentation was good and crisp enough to engage the audience. It would be great if this talk was shown to someone before attending their first career fair.

     

     

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    Roland N Green

    3.0 out of 5 stars

    Cyndi Lynch's presentation on preparing for a career fair was useful in bringing together a lot of the information presented in previous presentation. It brought up many of the ways to search for careers, such as websites, career fairs, and using your personal network, which brought a few new ideas for searching for jobs to mind. 

    A useful tip that I got from the presentation was using a career fair for networking. I had previously thought about using a career fair for only distributing my resume and looking for a job. This coupled with taking advantage of information sessions for this same end was also useful information in this presentation.

    One important thing on what to do "Before the Fair" that I thought was an important point was constructing your professional identity. I have usually focused on my technical abilities and goals, but the never really thought about having a cohesive identity to describe myself.

    A final point that I have not done in the past that I think would be useful for me is creating a "Career Fair Game Plan". I believe this would help me in not missing out on opportunities due to a lack of time.

    One of the things that I believe this presentation could have been improved by was more information on getting to know a specific company. I feel this area is one of te most important when an interviewer is narrowing down candidates.

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    Yeshani Wijesekara

    3.0 out of 5 stars

    There were a few things I liked about this lecture. I liked the overview of topics covered. The speaker talks about building the professional identity, networking narrative, job search strategies – funding/int, company research – how to pull out profiles, what type of questions to ask during the career fair, creating a career fair game plan. This is a process to work through before a career fair.

    I also liked the structure she provides to develop the networking narrative. This is a more general version of an elevator pitch because it can be adjusted according to the need. She talks about how to utilize the CARS method to allocate length/time when talking about experiences. She mentions the importance on not only talking about the experiences but also allocating 25% of the time to talk about how these connect to what the employer need.

    While this was a good video to watch, it doesn’t give out much information that we already don’t know about. As graduate students, we have been in school for several years and have gone to quite a few career fairs. So unless this is the first ever career fair you will be going to I wouldn’t recommend the video. Instead of giving an overview of how general career fairs work, it would have been good if the lecture could focus a little more on what the audience of this video – graduate electrical engineering students – may have to face in a career fair. And given the large number of international students in the department, providing some information on job search as an international student would have been a good idea too.

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    Sai Ravi Teja Boggavarapu

    4.0 out of 5 stars

    The presentation as a whole was very informative about the preparation strategy for a career fair - practice introduction narrative, company shortlist and organization research. Particularly, the breakdown of networking narrative was helpful as I always find it difficult to make choices regarding what to include in it. It was also helpful to know that CCO has institutional profiles to research about the company. 

    The career fair game plan was a bit brief and would have liked if she could have elaborated on the kind of companies to look at. Example - Being international student, people still advise to check out the companies that have registered only for hiring US citizens. But is it worth spending time on such companies? ...Also, 10 mins/company is not feasible, could have explained more on time management on the career fair day.

    The advise on sending thank you emails to the recruiters the next day was something I did not know was expected from a career fair. It would have been more resourceful if the presenter could have explained about the time span to maintain before following up with the recruiter. Also, personally I would have liked to know how to keep the recruiter engaged as I often find myself completing the conversation well before my colleagues.

     

     

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    Stephanie Michelle Johnson

    2.0 out of 5 stars

    While a lot of useful information was provided, nothing really made it any different from information that is readily available about career fairs. Nor was anything specific to graduate students. In my own experience, career fairs are slightly different in grad school vs undergrad, so it would be useful to know what to expect from that standpoint. In addition, many lines at Purdue’s career fairs can require individuals to wait for over an hour, advice on how to manage those lines when they are at the top of a candidates list, other than to get there early, would be useful. A greater distinction between the elevator speech and the networking narrative would be useful as well. I understand this video is nearly 8 years old, but it’s content are already very out of date, especially in regards to the first few slides. In regards to the delivery, there were a lot of cut off, or jagged, sentences. This made it somewhat difficult to follow and decreased the credibility of the speaker.

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    Vichitha Kekanaje Chinmaya

    5.0 out of 5 stars

     

    The whole session was very resourceful and insightful on how to prepare for a career fair. It helped me understand the kind of questions to be asked to the recruiter, the kind of information to be researched out about a company the vocal and narrative practices to be done prior to interactions with the recruiters. It also helped me understand vital details on how the Purdue CCO works, the possible pre-interview and post-interview talks that can take place, the things to be carried such as the portfolio, pens, the kind of attire to wear and wear exactly to wear the name take and so on. It also helped me gain insight into how to manage time during the career fair and how to reflect on the interactions post the career fair for improvement. The slides were very effective and organized. The overall presentation communicated the points very clearly and with a good pace and delivery.

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    Anirudh Sivakumar

    3.0 out of 5 stars

    This seminar covered the aspects of what a career fairs is, what sort of preparation one should be doing before career fairs, what to be doing during a career fair and what needs to be done after meeting and interacting with recruiters at the career fair.

    Although quite a bit of the information seemed to be common sense like trying to get more information about the recruiters, I would have liked to know more about the different ways in which one could go ahead doing that. Also there does not seem to be any information that International students need to be weary of. I have heard of recruiters who had no idea that international students, depending on their visa statuses, do not need sponsorship unless they are working full-time for the company. I also wish other tip and tricks like CARS are mentioned more in detail as these would be perfect mnemonics which are easy to remember and implement during a conversation.

    I did like some suggestions as to which questions one can ask the recruiter of a company like whether the company is product driven or service driven. These examples were something that I had not heard frequently and seemed to put someone forward as curious in actually getting ot know more about the workings of a company. Also, the tip on talking to people around you while you are waiting in line to get more information about other comapanies was a good one.

    Overall this seminar had some good tips and tricks but can be improved by adding more mnemonics and also mentioning some ideas and things that international students might have to be weary about. It is a good introduction to someone who has not attended a career fair.

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    Daniel Mas Montserrat

    3.0 out of 5 stars

    This seminar give some advice respect career fair. It provides useful information for before, during and after the career fair. Some of the information or advices are just common sense

    The presentation starts giving an overview on what is a career fair about and it compares it with other options to find job opportunities (like applying online). It gives some information about the environment you will find in the career fair and what recruiters are looking for.

    It follows giving some tips on what to do before the career fair. This include things like working on your resume (update it, have different, make multiple copies…), do some research about the companies (using website, social media, find out about their location, competitors, headquarters, goals…) , prepare some speech/identity (using CARS format), make a plan for the career (make a list or schedule).

    Then, it gives some information and tips for the day of the affair: dress professionally, arrive early, do not forget resumes, make sure to meet the recruiters

    The lecture ends up with some information for after the career fair (taking notes, saving cards or documents, send thank you or follow up emails…)

     

    Good things about lecture:

    Is well structured

    Visuals are clear and well structured

     

    Bad things:

    The speaker does not speak in a fluid manner

     Almost all information provided in this lecture is common sense

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    Rasika Kalwit

    3.0 out of 5 stars

    This seminar touches upon introduction to a career fair and how you can utilize the opportunities presented at the career fair. For most of the students career fair is a platform where they can get connected to industry person. The presenter talked about how a career fair works and how you can prepare for it. There are ways you can prepare for the career fair, by going to CCO website and getting more information about available opportunities, preparing a resume and making sure you have a great conversation starter to have a good first impression in small amount of time. After the career fair it’s always good to keep in touch with the people you spoke at career fair. I wish the presenter would have talked more about how to actually make most of the career fair when there is lot of information to process.

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    Ran Xu

    2.0 out of 5 stars

    Generally, this seminar gives a brief introduction to the career fair and what to do in the whole process. You will get to know the following after the seminar,

    (1) Some useful information, resources and suggestions for an advanced career

    (2) Basic knowledge about a career fair

    (3) How to prepare for career fair – resume, institutional profiles, dresses

    (4) What to do during the career fair

    (5) What to do after the career fair

    However, the lecturer has the following weaknesses and does not give an impressive lecture.

    (1) She speaks too fast, without any pauses and emphasis, just like reading a document.

    (2) The structure for this lecture is not clear. The speak just provides with knowledge and knowledge again, sometimes before the career fair and sometimes after the career fair.

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    Taegyu Kim

    3.0 out of 5 stars

    This lecture describes how to prepare a job fair.

    Some of concepts are overlapped with "Resumes: Develop your message, tell your story" presented by an identical lecturer.

    But, I have never gone to a job fair (I just passed without participating in it)

    I wondered what is a job fair.

     

    Some parts of her lecture were cliched. However, I could get what is the purpose of a career fair from the perspective of companies and recruiters. And, what I should prepare before participating in a career fair. 

    Especially, I thought I need to take a simple interview. However, the lecturer mentioned that I need to do something even after a job fair. Such as emailing and showing interest in position continuously. I guess recruiters are not interested in these things. (At least, in my country, maybe they are not interested in + they are busy).

    But, I will participate in the next job fair. I should consider such 'post'-action.  That was the point I got.

     

    If I evaluate this lecture, well.. not such good lecture. She couldn't use visual effects efficiently. Most contents are letters. Some pictures were useless. I guess she may can use some overall step in a graph form or flow chart. 

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