How Campus Recruitment Events Can Help You Land Your First Job

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For you young graduates-to-be, the last semester can be hectic because you have to do school works and job-hunting at the same time. With such a busy schedule, you may have to skip campus recruitment events. But you should not miss it because events like this may increase your chance of getting your first job. By engaging in a talk with company representatives, you’ll get to understand the culture and gain insights about the company, which might be useful for your application.

Yes your time is valuable, but you should join and make the best out of these events by remembering the following things to do:

Before the event

There are normally over a dozen companies attending a career fair. Usually, the fair will last for days, where each day different hiring companies will send representatives to talk to you. To avoid wasting your time in the event, it is important to plan your day. Make sure you check out the list of participating companies and identify the ones you are interested in. Take note of when they will be attending the exhibition, or when they will be hosting a talk, and plan your visit around that day.

Treat the event as a pre-interview and try to impress the representative because this might give you an advantage in the application process. So before attending an event, know the first-hand information about the company’s background and philosophy by checking their website. In some cases, such information helps determine whether you should attend these events. For example, if you want a job that has frequent business trips, but the company is currently focusing their business in the head office, then this might not be a good fit for you at the moment.

On the day of the event

It would be nice if you dress and groom properly on the day of the event. According to British clinical psychologist Linda Blair, seven seconds is all it takes to create first impressions. Commonly, you judge others on their looks long before you judge their words or actions. So, while seven seconds is not enough for you to wow the representative with your wit, it is certainly more than enough to make a bad impression if you show up wearing flipflops and shorts. Instead, dress up a little more than your usual college attire. You must choose smart casual wear for you to appear refreshed and composed.

Remember to bring lots of copies of your CV as many hiring companies collect students’ CVs on the spot. For example, if you are interested in three companies at the fair, you need to bring at least six copies. While you still have to apply online, you should still leave a hard copy of your CV so that the HR representatives will remember you, and see you as a sincere applicant. Your CV will remind the company’s HR staff that they’ve seen and heard you at the career fair. Besides, the fact that you’ve spent the time to attend the fair and talk to company representative shows that you are interested in the company, plus you’ll get first-hand information about the company than a regular applicant.

Also, please do not forget to take notes when you attend recruitment talks, especially information that you cannot find online. This is why you should do your research beforehand, so you can get important information. These are the things that you can mention in your cover letter and during the interview, to impress the hiring managers and interviewers that were present in the events. You may make the mistake of leaving right after the talk that you miss getting more basic information about the company. You have to realize that you have to grab the opportunity to speak to them because it is one of the most valuable things these events can offer. You can ask them about what it’s like to work at the company, and what they think the company value the most in an applicant etcetera. It is quite normal for representatives to be surrounded by a large group of students, but if you stand out among the many faces by preparing questions in advance, you will surely leave a mark.

After the event

By all means, try exchanging name cards with company representatives so you can send a follow-up e-mail. If you don’t have a card, ask for theirs. If they do not have you should at least ask for their name and email address. After the event, you may send them a note to thank them for their time, or even invite them for coffee. If you are polite and genuine with your intention, who knows you might just get a chance to connect with someone from your dream company. In some rare cases, the company representative may be willing to be your internal reference. Nevertheless, you can still mention them in your cover letter or during the interview to set yourself apart from others who simply applied online.

Related Read - How to Write that Perfect Thank You Letter

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Sophia Wong

Brand and Marketing Strategist in Hong Kong, writes about career, job hunting and interview tips.

3 min read

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