Career fairs can be extremely frustrating. With hundreds of other students making their way to booths to talk to the same companies you want to speak with, the entire process can be overwhelming and it is difficult to feel as if you stand out from the rest. The great thing about PRSSA National Conference is the career fair that is specifically tailored to PR students, unlike most career fairs that come to IU which tend to focus more on business students. Some of the country’s largest PR agencies send representatives specifically to the conference to speak with students, but even in a narrowed down environment tailored to my major, as a senior looking for a job I still find it hard to stand out among the hundreds of other PR students. As it is my second year attending this PR career fair, I’ve discovered a few different ways to help anyone in the same situation at a career fair stand out.
1. Do your research: before attending the fair make sure you know which companies are going to be there and find out who they are, what they offer, and where they are located. This information will help you create a road map for the fair and will eventually help you form questions.
2. Narrow it down: after researching the companies who are attending the fair, plan out which ones you are definitely interested in and make sure to go to those companies first. There is no use in waiting in a long line for every single booth if you are not interested or if they do not have opportunities you are qualified for. After you stop by the ones you picked out, then feel free to visit other ones to find out more information.
3. Plan your questions: when meeting a representative from a company you should have a specific question picked out beforehand. If you need to, take your time at the fair; sit down, write out your thoughts, and pick a few questions to ask rather than winging it. When you feel ready, get in line to speak with someone.
4. Ask specific, unique questions: the representatives from the different companies are seeing students just like you repetitively, how many of them do you think get the same question over and over again? Ask a question that is unique to your experience and what you want out of a job, rather than just asking a broad question that sums up their company.
5. Keep it brief: After asking your questions and exchanging information, move on to your next pursuit. The companies have a lot of students to see and taking up all of their time will not help you get a job. Keep in mind it is not an interview, think of it as a meet and greet.