October 16, 2015

Weatherhead Fall Career Fair: Tips for Success

With the Weatherhead Career Fair just around the corner, first-year MBA student Lily Gao sat down with second-year MBA student Amy Chen to ask her advice on how to impress employers. Fellow MBA candidate Mark Sawaya documented their discussion.

The Weatherhead Career Fair will host 40 employers in PBL on Friday, October 23, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. For more information, check out the Fall 2015 Career Fair Employer Guide.

Lily: What questions should I be prepared to answer in a career fair setting?

Amy: In addition to your "30-second sales pitch" employers may ask a few additional questions to learn more about you. Some questions you may be asked are:

      1. What do you look for in a job?
      2. How would you describe yourself?
      3. What are your career goals?
      4.What experience do you have?

Lily: What is the dress code for the career fair?

Amy: Look professional, neat and clean. Dress as though you are going to a job interview. If you wear a suit, ensure that it fits properly and that you feel comfortable in it for a long period of time. For women, conservative (minimal) jewelry and makeup are suggested. Both men and women should not wear strong fragrances.

Lily: How should I prepare my resume? 

Amy: Use a more generic "networking" resume unless you are going to target a specific profession (e.g. consultant, program manager, etc.) or available position in the organization. If you choose the latter, use more focused job-specific resumes. You may consider bringing two or three versions of your resume and using the one you think most appropriate for each employer, and be sure to make several copies of each.

Lily: I hear body language is important—what are some tips I should keep in mind? 

Amy: Often it is the nonverbal communication that we are least aware of, yet speaks the loudest. The following are some of the most important nonverbals to consider.

1. Eye contact:  If you look away while listening, it shows lack of interest and a short attention span.       If you maintain eye contact while speaking, it shows confidence in what you are saying.
2. Facial expression: Eliminate any negative overall characteristics that might exist, then add a simple     feature that nearly every interviewee forgets to include—a smile! A true and genuine smile tells the     interviewer that you are a happy person and delighted to be speaking with the                
3. Posture: How you carry yourself sends out a signal of your confidence and power potential.
4. Gesture: Contrary to popular belief, gestures should be very limited during the interview. When           you do use gestures, make sure they are natural and meaningful.
5. Space: Recognize the boundaries of your personal space and that of others.

Lily: How can I find out more info about the companies attending the career fair? 

Amy: Research information about the participating companies and organizations prior to approaching the recruiters. Use the Internet, news sources and career fair materials to learn more about the companies you plan to visit.

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