Written by Rabia Tahir, 3rd year, Professional Communication
In the haze of classes, extracurriculars, and part-time jobs, it can be easy to overlook the many events that occur on campus. However, the annual STEM Career Fair can help you secure a work opportunity even before you walk across the graduation stage.
For those passionate about public speaking and networking, career fairs can be a smooth ride, whereas for students who are strangers to industry events, the ride can be a little bumpy. If attending a career fair and networking with a potential employer is unfamiliar territory for you, here are 5 tips to help you prepare for the big day.
- Review the employers attending
Over 40+ companies will be at the fair. Their industries and open positions vary – it could be a lot of information to take in at the fair if you don’t do your research first. The full list of employers are on the career fair website. Set some time aside to check out their website, and job opportunities on their careers page. By having this knowledge beforehand, you can learn more about an organization’s vision, programs, and achievements, which will allow you to ask more focused, and in-depth questions.
- Prepare Your Questions
Alongside the many other students that are vying for each employer’s attention, you need to ensure that your questions help you stand out, but also help you learn important information in a small timeframe.
- What opportunities do you currently have available?
- What types of projects would I work on?
- What’s the most exciting part of your day?
- How does your company support professional development?
- How would you describe your company culture?
But remember, the questions you ask employers will be determined by the questions you ask yourself before the fair:
- What do I want to get out of the fair?
- What type of employers do I want to connect with?
- Am I only looking for connections, or am I ready to apply to work with these employers right now?
- Prepare and bring your resume!
Imagine having a great conversation with an employer, you connect very well, and they are interested in taking a look at your resume. After such a great connection, your resume has to seal the deal.
Before attending the fair, take advantage of the resources at Ryerson and visit the Career Centre in POD 60. Book an appointment with a Resume and Online Profile Advisor, get career advising from your faculty’s Career Education Specialist, or attend a Prepare for the STEM Career Fair workshop!
Bonus Tip: Bring a business card with your name, contact info and program in the case you’re more interested in connecting with the employers or if you want to stand out!
- Ditch your 6fest hoodie for a blazer
First impressions are long lasting, so make sure you are dressed appropriately for this event. Business or business casual will work just fine!
Last but certainly not the least important, follow-up with the employers you talk to at the event! Don’t wait a week or a month to do this, but message them within a few days. Find them on LinkedIn and send a quick inmail, or email them if you took their business card.
This step is essential as it paves the way for you to create a long-lasting relationship with the employer, and keep in touch. This keeps you on their radar and could even lead to a future job opportunity!
Preparation is key, and hopefully these tips will ensure you are well prepared to meet your future employer.
Rabia Tahir is a third year communications and marketing student at Ryerson University. Currently, as an Employer Engagement Assistant at the university’s Career Centre, she works on a diverse range of projects such as Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) events, career fairs, and networking sessions. During her free time, she enjoys getting involved with extracurricular activities on campus, reading, or catching up on the latest Netflix sitcom. In the next few years, Rabia hopes to apply her communications and marketing skills in the healthcare industry.