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How do I land an interview from recruiters at job fairs?

I'm a senior in high school from NorCal going to college soon, and an alum from the college I committed to (UCSD) highly recommended attending job fairs. I'm planning to enter a CompSci career, although I would appreciate landing any sort of job while in college. Any tips for landing an interview from recruiters or for what I should learn from speaking to recruiters?

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Ben’s Answer

Great question! In my experience, job fairs are one of the best ways to gain exposure to recruiters and to demonstrate your social skills, which are a huge part of any interview process. A few tips for landing interviews:

1) Show interest - find out what companies will be there and research them! Know their mission statement, their company culture, any recent news, etc.
2) Be ready to talk about your strengths and skills, and give specific examples.
3) Differentiate yourself - many of these recruiters talk to hundreds of kids every day. A great way to do this is to ask the recruiter for their business card/information and send a follow-up email.
4) Have a padfolio with updated resumes printed - as many as you can fit.
5) As always, a firm handshake and eye contact go a long way, especially when everybody has been working virtually for a while.

As far as things you should learn from recruiters:

1) In-person, hybrid or work-from-home? If in-person or hybrid, what are the available locations?
2) What does a typical day in this role look like?
3) What about this company is appealing to you? How did you get started at this company?
4) How can this company help me advance my career? What opportunities can this company offer me?
5) What are the next steps in the hiring process?


Hope this helps! If your school has any career development classes or career advisors, I would strongly recommend taking advantage of them - they will be more than happy to help revise your resume or conduct a mock interview/job fair scenario.

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Carlos’s Answer

I agree with the alum's advice: job fairs are a great way to apply to multiple places in a short time span and find a job. That is how I was able to find the position I'm in right now! They also hold an advantage over online applications, as a lot places have automated processes that are not reviewed by humans; physical presence is a great way to stand out from other candidates and, since you speak to current employees, you can also ask questions and get an idea if the company will be a good fit.

Ben's advice is good and through, so I'll add on my own advice on physical presence. Some of it may sound obvious or silly, but it's still good to hear.
- Be excited! Show them you're interested in the company and what they do.
- Be confident. These events can be nerve wracking, so sometimes you have to "fake it 'til you make it." You have every right to be there as much as anyone else.
- Deliver a firm handshake and maintain good eye contact. This shows you believe in yourself and they should believe in you too.
- Speak clearly. Most people, when they're nervous, have a tendency to talk too fast or too quietly. Maintain a good volume and speak in a rhythm that may even seem sort of slow. This can help emphasize what you're saying (it can give you more time to think) and it will definitely help the recruiter understand what you're saying -- after all, they've been intaking information non-stop for hours.

Good luck on your job search!
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Sophie’s Answer

- follow up after the event with an email/resume and cover letter to show that you are really interested in the role(s) they have available
- ask lots of questions
- have confidence!
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Madisyn’s Answer

Hi Amanda!

Job fairs are a great way to get involved with a company. In order to make the most of the job fair, you should bring copies of your resume and network with people from the companies you want to work at. Often, recruiters will bring people from their company to assist them at the fair. You can ask those people to answer questions about their work and just show a genuine interest in what they do. You can give the recruiter your resume and let them know that you are interested in interviewing.

Additionally, I would prepare an elevator pitch. This is a 30 second to a 1 minute speech that you give when you introduce yourself. You can make a quick note of your skills, education and the type of job you are looking for.
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