By: Nujhat Nabeela, Bachelor of Commerce, Honours Marketing
The journey to meaningful employment is a chapter in every student’s #RoadFromRyerson story. Over the next month, we’ve invited graduating Ryerson students to share their professional development stories via the Path to Career blog series.
The best way to predict the future is to create it. – Abraham Lincoln
Attending the New Grad Career Fair last year was instrumental in the success of my #RoadFromRyerson journey. Not only did I land 5 interviews with employers, but this was a valuable opportunity for me to hone my interview skills.
Here are another 5 reasons why you should attend career fairs.
- Doorways to instant success: Employers are there to connect with as many potential candidates as possible. If you do your research and prepare well ahead of this event, you really have the ability to be one of those lucky ones that either secure an interview or a job on the spot, or make meaningful connections that you can reach out to later in your career.
- Industry exposure: At Ryerson career fairs more than 50 employers from diverse backgrounds gather under one roof. This is your opportunity to not only find out about fields that are directly related to your fields, but also other industries to explore future career options.
- Networking opportunity: You really never know who you might need in your career journey. A person who might be working at a company you are not interested in today, might be working at a company that you dearly want to work at in the next 6 months. A career fair is your opportunity to make meaningful connections that you can use today and later in the future.
- More than paper: On average employers look at resumes for only 6 seconds. At career fairs you are able to engage with employers in-person. This is a great way to put your face to your application. In the past when I went to career fairs, most employers mentioned they either keep a separate resume file of applicants who they talked to at career fairs or let HR know that they met you at the event.
- Gaining confidence: Speaking from personal experience, the more I attended career fairs, the more I felt confident speaking to employers at future fairs or interviews. It really helps students get an idea of how to act and how to present themselves in front of employers.
A lot of my success was attributed to preparing for the fair in advance. Here are my go-to prepare for the fair tips.
- Research and prioritize: Ryerson Career Centre will be posting a detailed list of employers, indicating which positions they are hiring for closer to date. I will be looking into the positions, company details and current trends related to those positions. I will be making my own list of employers who I am interested in and ensure I talk to them first before I connect with other employers.
- Bring resumes: Based on my interest, I will create resumes and bring at least 20 copies to give to employers at the event.
- Be on time and know surroundings: I will allow myself enough time to attend the fair earlier during the day (because it is typically less busy) and familiarize myself with the map provided at the event to make sure I know where employers of my interests are located.
- Prepare elevator pitch: I will be making my 30 second elevator pitch to introduce myself to the employers. This is important to stand out of the crowd and make a positive first impression. Check out Idealist Career for tips on how to make elevator pitch.
- Prepare list of questions to ask: It is important that I know how I want to interact with employers. One way to make the most of your and employer’s time is to prepare a list of questions ahead of time. This can be about the position specifically, about the company, or the industry in general.