How to network the Part-Time Job Fair

September 1, 2015

Career planning

So if you haven’t heard, we’re hosting our annual Part-Time Job Fair on September 9th from 12-3 pm in the Commonwealth Ballroom inside the Commons. More than 30 employers will attend and we are still adding more.

Every year nearly 1000 students attend with the same goal: Find. A. Job. With so much competition, standing out from everyone else offers plenty of challenges.

Here are four tips to make sure you stand out from the crowd:

a student and employer meet at the Part-Time Job FairLook the part

Let’s be clear. You’re searching for a part-time job, not a part in the Wolf of Wall Street. So while business professional might be over-kill (for this particular fair), that doesn’t mean you should show up in whatever.

Aim for long pants or a conservative skirt and a nice shirt. Check out our guides on our Pinterest page for tips. But as a general guide, aim for what you would wear to a restaurant with a $$$ Yelp rating.

Don’t show up empty handed

I don’t know any other way to say this, so I’ll just say it. You need a resume. It might seem silly to show up with one when the company is just going to make you fill out their application. But trust me, it sets you apart. A recruiter is going to talk to 800 students in three hours. That’s a ton of new names and faces, so it makes sense to leave them with something that explains why you’re best for the job.

If you do not have a resume, you can create one in about 15 minutes using the HireVCURams resume creator. To use it, log in to HireVCURams and look for resume creator in the left side navigation.

Talk it up

Few things are more frustratingly necessary than an elevator pitch. Why is it important? Because you may only get a few seconds at a job fair to sell yourself, so they must count. Idealist Careers has an excellent guide to creating the simple elevator pitch, but every pitch should follow three rules:

  1. It should be 30 seconds or less
  2. Your skill (or how you benefit a potential employer) should be clear
  3. There should be a goal (or ask)

Follow up

There’s a saying in sales;“The fortune is in the follow up.” It’s tired, but it’s also true. Nothing makes you seem more legit that following up because it shows commitment and integrity.

At the fair, you might be asked to fill out an application on the spot. You might be asked to go online later and fill one out. Or you might be waiting on an email from an employer. Regardless of those situations, always follow up.

Try to collect business cards or contact information from the representatives of companies that interest you during the fair.  Wait 5-7 days after the fair and follow up with your contacts. Let them know you are still interested and inquire about the status of your application or the next steps in the process.

Good luck with your search. And if you have questions, swing by our table during the fair. We’ll help you out.

 

Visit careers.vcu.edu for more tips and advice about finding your passion, searching for a job or internship, nailing your interview, crafting a Pulitzer-worthy cover letter, and many other career topics.

To schedule a one-on-one meeting with a VCU Career Adviser, call 804-828-1645.

 

 

 

 

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