For most students, career fairs occur between 1-3 times each semester. The time between each employment expo gives students extraordinary time to take advantage of preparation and followup activities.
Career fairs exist to give students every chance possible to get considered for great job opportunities. When properly leveraged, they create lifelong and mutually-beneficial relationships, greater understanding of opportunities and employers, and invitations to internship and job opportunities.
Here are ways to get ready for the next career on your campus:
Visit the Career Center
Every campus has a career services center. They exist to help students prepare for post-collegiate life. Do yourself a favor and walk in to the career center and simply say hello to the first person you see. Then, ask where and how you can receive advice and guidance with your career planning. You'll be amazed how kind and helpful the staff can be.
Update your resume
Give it a good look and make revisions wherever possible. Then, perhaps the most important step, ask others to review and provide feedback on it. This includes emailing it to us for feedback. Apply the feedback as best as possible.
Look for jobs
Conduct online (or via apps) searches for jobs. Don't apply for these jobs, but look to see what's available in the industry(ies) you're seeking. Again, don't apply for these jobs!
Expand your professional network
Meet people. Seek professional associations within the industry(ies) you're targeting. Create a list of the associations, identify when they're hosting networking events, and plan to attend them. Leaders of these associations love engaging young people. If cost is a barrier, find ways to a)pay for the event, or 2)volunteer at the events. These events will expand your network beyond imagination and enable you to meet extraordinary leaders (eventual connections).
Reach out to your network
Send a note (email or hand-written card) to your connections, simply to say hello and invite a visit (to office, for coffee, etc.). Don't ask for a job or money or a connection...just say hello and/or share new information. The purpose is to nurture the relationship. They will not expect your message, which will work in your favor.
Maximize your extra-curricular involvement
Employers love meeting students who are involved on campus and in the community. If you're currently a member of an organization, take it up a notch. This doesn't mean you need to become president. It simply means to increase your roles and responsibilities, which will help fine-tune your hard and soft skills. These are the skills employers target when choosing their next hires.
Talk to people
Is networking mentioned on this list? What you learn in school is tremendous, but who you know and who knows you will be the key when a)seeking a job, and b)exceeding your workplace goals. When you're in line (at a coffee shop or grocery store), say hello to those around you. When you're in class, sit among new faces and say hello. You never know who knows who or who can connect you to new opportunities. Simple conversations lead to extraordinary opportunities.
These suggestions have been provided to help with your career planning, but will be commonplace and utilized in each of your jobs. There's no better time, than now, to kick your career planning into high gear. It can be intimidating, but the best way to get the job you want is to take steps forward.