5 Tips for Interview Fair Success
1. Create a stand-out resume
You don't need pink paper or lots of funky fonts to make your resume stand out for employers. What you do need is a document that sells your experience and qualifications. Before you submit your resume for First Access employers, make sure you've taken the time to ensure it will help your chances of getting an interview, not hurt them. The Career Services website includes a guide to developing a resume that will get you noticed (in the right way).
2. Research the companies
Before you submit your resume, take the time to learn about the companies attending First Access and the positions they'll have available. Learning about the company first will help you decide if you really want to work there. If you do, you'll know enough about the company to create good questions for your interviewer. Check out our research tips.
3. Prepare for the interview
If you are selected for an interview, you'll have about 20 minutes with the recruiter. Be prepared to give a full introduction of your background and quickly position yourself as someone who is a good fit in relation to that employer's needs. The recruiter will usually want you to elaborate on the information contained in your resume, so it is crucial that you be prepared to comment on each and every item on it and, if possible, relate items to the open position. Be prepared to give supporting examples for what might be a single-line bullet item on your resume. Make sure all your answers position you as the candidate who meets the employers needs. Read more about interview questions and how to answer them.
4. Dress appropriately for the interview
Even though employers are here on campus, these are not casual interviews. Appropriate interview attire is expected. If you're unsure about how to dress properly, see our checklist. If you want a second opinion, we're glad to help. A few days before, put on your interview clothes and come by our office. We'll tell you how to tweak your look for success.
As it is in any other part of the job search, the critical last step is follow-up. Unfortunately, very few students ever follow-up. Make sure you are the one who stands out in the crowd. First, call the office number on the business card of the person with whom you met. They will obviously be out of the office, but they likely will be checking messages that evening. So ask to be put through to voicemail, where you will leave a personal thank you. Then send a thank you card by e-mail to confirm your ongoing interest. What to say? Keep it short and sweet. But make sure you include the following topics:
- Thanks for taking time to meet with me today . . .
- Here is why I feel I would be an outstanding employee for your company . . .
- I would appreciate the opportunity to speak with you further . . .
- I will call you next week to arrange a time when we can meet and further discuss how my skills can benefit your organization...
Then make sure you do in fact call when you said you would. Again, very few follow through to this step, so you will be head and shoulders above the crowd at this point, and very likely the one they choose to go on to the next step.
No job offers will be made at the job fair. But if you perform at your very best and follow through on all the steps, you may be on your way toward the final interview at the company site.