Career Fair Success Strategies
EACE Blog contribution by Wenylla Reid, Associate Director for Employer Development, University Career Services at Rutgers University
A lot of companies attend career fairs and sometimes they wonder why student traffic at their respective booths or tables is not particularly strong. The easiest thing to do is to point to career services as being unable to market or promote the event, but more challenging task is for each company to assess their own role in how they promote their respective brands. Ideally, each company will have a career fair briefing with appropriate career attendees at the start of each recruiting season but since this is not always possible I’ve compiled a list of areas that I believe companies should consider when assessing and implementing their strategies as it relates to career fairs. Here are 10 suggestions for increasing career fair success:
- Did you meet the appropriate deadline to be included in the career fair brochure? If you are not included in the career fair brochure many students will not be aware that you are at the event. Ask if an electronic version of the career fair brochure will be available and if companies who register after the print deadline will be included. If you are not listed in any marketing material as a fair attendee this will require additional effort on your part
- Stand in front of your table. Representatives who stand in front of the table appear accessible as it decreases the distance between you and a potential candidate. You also seem more engaged and eager to meet potential hires.
- Greet your students, smile and be friendly. Ask yourself would you want to talk to the grumpy person sitting behind the table? Your disposition and facial expression should be inviting. Keep in mind that you are representing your company and its brand. Are you showcasing the best of what your organization has to offer by appearing unfriendly?
- Consider using a table-top display to showcase your company name and logo. Table top displays are highly visible, easy to transport while taking up minimal space. This will also offer more visibility and help students with s recognizing your organization.
- Hand out gifts that students will use. Pens, highlighters, USB and company products are all good ideas. Strive for items that are of good quality rather than just an inexpensive gift for the career fair.
- Confirm that the audience that you seek will be present at the fair BEFORE you register. Many schools have fairs that cater to specific majors or areas of industry. Inquire as to whether the students you seek will be in attendance.
- Advertise that you will be at the fair to your target audience BEFORE the fair. Connect to student organizations, faculty and other campus liaisons to alert them to your attendance. Utilize school publications such as daily newspapers as a source for gaining additional attention.
- Be certain that all materials regarding the fair (parking, maps, agenda, shipping information, etc) are distributed to those attending the fair. Misinformation or lack of information creates confusion and can impact the overall experience and productivity for those attending the career fair.
- Prepare the adequate number of handouts and flyers. Copiers may not be readily available if you run out. Inquire as to past number of attendees to assist in estimating the amount of material that you will need.
- Inform the school of the actual of number of representatives in attendance so that appropriate arrangements can be made.
What did you think of my list? Are there areas that I overlooked? Have any of these worked or failed?
Wenylla Reid currently serves as the Associate Director for Employer Development with University Career Services at Rutgers, the State University of NJ. In this role she has an integral part in the development and maintenance of employer outreach operations. Prior to joining University Career services she established the Office of Career Management for Rutgers Business School Undergraduate New Brunswick (RBS). During her tenure with RBS she grew the department from one full time hire to include four full-time associates. She also developed and oversaw exclusive programs and a range of career management services for over 2,000 students enrolled in six majors.
In addition she managed the Women’s Business Leadership Initiative (WBLI); a program designed to provide RBS female students with structured opportunities to examine the impact of gender on leadership while encouraging each participant to refine and develop their unique leadership style. She also established the first official Rutgers Business School Mentor Program on the Newark and New Brunswick campuses. Prior to her work at the business school Ms. Reid spent time working in university relations and college recruiting and youth development.
Wenylla received her Bachelor of Arts from Rutgers University’s Douglass College and an MS from Polytechnic University. She has also volunteered as a mentor for the National Association for Colleges and Employers, an extern host for Douglass College’s Externship Program and workshop facilitator for INROADS.
She is very passionate about career management for college students and she shares her insights on her blog called Build Brand You (http://buildbrandyou.com) which emphasizes strategic brand development for college students, plus great tips for everyone else.