Maximizing Your Time at the Career Fair


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Graduate students! Use this presentation from our Career Fair Prep workshop to help you get ready for the next career fair you attend!

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  • Talking Points:Who has been to Career Fair before? What do you hope to learn today?Why are you going to this Fair?
  • Talking Points:Why this fair is different – First, it is specifically for master’s and phd students – MBA’s are not invited, and most organizations are seeking students who have an advanced degree either for their transferrable skills or for their particular skills. Companies coming range from pharma companies and policy think tanks, to consulting firms, insurance and IP law firms. There is a wide range of employers seeking students/postdocs with your skills. Also – this is a consortium event – Duke stands out – represent well.
  • Talking Points:Typical dress for females/malesResume/CV tipsResearch tipsPractice your commercial (commercial script HANDOUT)Other: Tips from Recruiters:
  • Talking Points:See handout—Guidelines for Professional Dress
  • Talking Points: Depending on the type of position, you will want to tailor your resume/CV accordinglyUpdated resume/CV that reflects your desired interest– with key words, relevant experience and skills, etc.
  • Talking Points:Last graduate drop-in for fall 2013 will be Tuesday, Nov. 26th at Smith 2-4pmTypically, Bryan Center drop-ins are held the last Friday of the month.
  • Talking Points: Research Employers using different sources:For instance, CareerBeam, Hoovers,, and LinkediIn (among other social media sites)Know employers’ mission and what type of positions are availableHow might you fit?
  • Talking Points:Be prepared to wait in line Don’t be offended if they ask you to forward your resume online!Do what they tell you to do. Ifyou are nervous, first talk to companies that you aren’t as interested in and warm up for those are your target list.
  • Talking Points:First impression is a lasting impression!Firm handshakeGood eye contactSmile!Being genuine!
  • Talking Points:Commercials are made to sell things, and you are marketing your strengths and talents to potential employers.30-second commercials are good to use at networking or industry events as well as when talking to recruiters or hiring managers at career fairs. Take the time to develop your script so that you are comfortable talking with anyone. Your speech should be memorable and effective and create interest on the part of the listener.
  • Talking Points:Be authentic/genuineAsk questions that allow you to get an idea of how you might “fit”; what the organization is looking for in their ideal candidate.Ask questions about the hiring process or training programs, i.e. internships, LDPs.Ask questions that allow you to evaluate the “attractiveness” of the company/organization.Some potential questions; open ended vs. yes/noSOURCE:
  • Talking Points:Don’t chew gumDon’t fidgetDon’t smell like smokeDon’t be misled into thinking the fair is a social event
  • Talking Points:Follow-up; letting them know you followed throughAvoid spelling & grammatical errorsThe real world is not organized by major or minor.Display your interpersonal and communication skills. Act professionally at all times
  • Talking Points:The real world is not organized by major or minor.Stand out…in a GOOD way.Recruiters want to talk to YOU – take advantage!Display your interpersonal and communication skills. Connect + Personality and ability Act professionally at all times Confidence: “Fake it until you make it!”
  • Maximizing Your Time at the Career Fair

    1. 1. MAXIMIZING YOUR TIME AT THE CAREER FAIR November 18, 2013 Facilitator: Tammy J. Samuels Assistant Director of Graduate Student Services
    2. 2. 13th Annual North Carolina Master’s & PhD Career Fair 2013 • Date: Thursday, November 21 • Time: 12 pm to 4 pm • Location: The Friday Center at UNCChapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC Employer Information Sessions held 12:30-4 Website: • What We Will Cover Today: – Dress, Resumes, Research, Introductions, Follow-Up, Career Fair Don’ts
    3. 3. Why Should I Go? • Employment opportunities specifically for Master’s & PhD students and postdocs • Networking Opportunity – Make a good in-person impression! • Learn about organizations and industries – Learn more about employers than you can learn from the website
    4. 4. How to Prepare • • • • • DRESS to impress Make your RESUME/CV top notch Do your RESEARCH Practice your INTRODUCTION Develop a Follow-up
    5. 5. Business Formal** Business Formal Men • • • • Black or Navy Suit Dress shirt Leather loafers Matching belt. Socks to match pant color. Business Formal Women • • • • Black, navy or tan suit or sheath dress with jacket Conservative blouse or top Knee-length skirt or suit pants Closed-toe heel (pump or sling back) or dress flat of a quality leather. ** Dress for the job
    6. 6. Career Fair Attire Source:Tarelton State University Career Services
    7. 7. Resume/CV Tips Multiple copies AND variety to fit specific companies/positions • – • CIA, Oak Ridge National Laboratories, Rho Inc., RTI, Kelly Scientific, and Teach for America to name a few Update your Resume/CV and have it reviewed prior to the Fair
    8. 8. Resume Review Graduate Students – Drop-ins every Tues. & Wed. 2-4pm (while class is in session); Smith Warehouse, Bay 5, 2nd Fl. – Resume Reviews at the Bryan Center • Wed. Nov. 20th 2-4pm (in lieu of Smith Warehouse drop-ins) Postdocs - Schedule an appointment with Molly Starback
    9. 9. Research Employers • List of Employers – Duke Cheat Sheet – LinkedIn • NC Master’s & PhD Career Fair • Plan your Day – Info Sessions – Prioritize Employers – Layout
    10. 10. Your Plan-5 Steps • Step 1: Identify employers, timing, and start visiting organizations • Step 2: Introduce yourself with confidence • Step 3: Ask informed questions • Step 4: Thank the recruiter, ask for business card • Step5: Make notes when you leave the booth
    11. 11. Step 1 • Survey the landscape • Prioritize employers & visit organizations you researched and/or are interested in
    12. 12. Step 2 • Introduce yourself with confidence – Nonverbal: Handshake, Smile, etc. • Bring a padfolio – Verbal: “30 second commercial”
    13. 13. 30 Second Commercial Also known as an “elevator speech,” the commercial is your first chance to introduce yourself to someone and give them a short synopsis of your skills and experience with the goal of getting them to ask you for more information. What are the Main Elements of the Networking Commercial? By answering these questions, you can begin to craft your personal commercial: • Who am I? What value do I bring? Identify yourself in terms of a job function or value you can contribute. • What benefits might you bring to an organization, based upon your strengths and qualities and proven accomplishments? • End your commercial with a question that will stimulate further action and/or referral. Source: Adapted from UMBC Career Center (
    14. 14. Step 3 Ask Informed Questions – Informed Strategic Questions: “I noticed you have a health assessment group and a health policy group, what are the key differences between the two? “What kinds of skills or experience do you look for in who you hire?” – Strategic Planning Questions: “What have other postdocs from Novartis gone on to do?” – Key Company Information Questions: “What is the organizational culture like at Gallup? How is it different from other management consulting companies?”
    15. 15. Step 4 & 5 •Thank the representative for their time and express appreciation. •Get their Business Card •Make notes when you leave the booth
    16. 16. Career Fair Don’ts Don’t be TOO aggressive! Don’t be CLINGY! Don’t travel in PACKS!
    17. 17. After the Fair •What do you do? – Evaluate your experience and plan for the next step • What was positive/negative? How was your “commercial” received? What might you change? – Follow up with a sincere thank you letter Do’s & Don’ts: • Do: Be Prompt, Specific, and Succinct • Do: Follow this structure: – Paragraph 1: Express gratitude – Paragraph 2: Reiterate why you’re a perfect “fit” • Don’t get discouraged if a company never responds Evaluate your experience and plan for the next step
    18. 18. Career Resources – Visit the Career Center Resource Room for Resume/CV Review during Drop-Ins or Research Employers – Make an appointment with a Career Counselor, Call: (919) 660-1050 M-F, 9-5 – Postdocs – email to schedule an appointment
    19. 19. Questions • Q/A • Please complete the workshop evaluation Thank you for coming! Duke Career Center Website: Phone: (919) 660-1061