It might feel weird to just approach a stranger and start pitching yourself, but at a job fair it’s normal. Everyone’s doing it and recruiters WANT to talk to you. Talking to recruiters can be both nerve racking and awkward if you’re not prepared. Here’s a quick guide on how to start your intro, some examples, and wrap up conversations with employers at the fair.
Give your name, year in school, and academic major and why you are interested in their company or organization. Make it as easy as possible for the recruiter to understand your background and how you may be a fit. Demonstrate that you’ve done some research on the company/organization and know something about them and/or the position you are interested in.
What to Say?
Topics you might want to cover in your intro:
• Who am I? What do I offer? What field or industry am I interested in? (Identify yourself in terms of a job function or contribution.)
• What need or issue does the employer face and what problem can be solved?
• What are the main contributions I can make? What benefits can employers derive from my skills, based on my proven accomplishments?
• End with a question to invoke further conversation: What are key skills or attributes of employees that have been successful at your company/this position?
AVOID the following:
• Starting the conversation with asking, “Do you have any job/internship openings?”
• Handing your resume to a recruiter and saying, “Do you have a job/internship for me?”
• Saying “I’m open to anything.”
Example: “Hi, I’m Michelle Smith. I’m currently a senior Psychology major looking for program coordination positions at nonprofits. I’ve done a lot of volunteer work over the past few years, and I’m especially interested in combining what I’ve learned in my major with the social service work I’ve done outside of class.”
Example: “Hi, my name is Sam Ward. I’m a junior computer science major and I’m really excited about combining my interest in technology with my love for art. I’ve actually developed an interactive educational tool to teach children how to draw. I’d love to explore internship opportunities with dynamic, creative software companies like yours.”
That’s it! Wrap up the conversation by thanking them for their time. Ask your final questions and what the best way for you to stay in touch and move forward with the application process is. Don’t worry if the recruiter refers you to the company website as many companies have this practice.