Tuesday, February 19, 2013

How to Introduce Yourself at the Career Fair

One of the biggest challenges you might face as an attendee at a Career Fair is how to get started with a conversation with a recruiter. We would encourage all Career Fair attendees to develop a self-introduction that effectively summarizes you and why you are talking to that recruiter.

Preparing this introduction begins long before visiting the recruiter's table. Start by researching the companies you want to talk to before you get to the career fair. By the time you arrive, you should know some basic things, such as what industry the company is in, what products or services it provides, and a little bit about the mission, values, or culture of the company. If the company has shared positions which it is seeking to fill at that time, read up on those positions and be familiar with the qualifications.

From there, craft a brief introduction which connects your background to the organization's needs. You should present yourself in a way that illustrates how you will fit within that company.

Here are a few items that could be included which would help you toward that end:

  • Name
  • Education: Major & Graduation Date
  • Positions/field of interest
  • Skills or strengths related to career goals or the job/internship
  • Why you are interested in this company
Here is a sample self introduction that might help illustrate these examples:

Hi, my name is Tuffy Eagle, and I am a senior English major with a minor in Communication. I wanted to speak to you today about the Financial Representative position available with your company. I believe that the excellent written and oral communication skills I have developed through my coursework will help me present information in a way potential clients can understand. Also, my previous internship with XYZ Financial provided me with knowledge of financial services and how they work. I really respect the values of integrity and compassion that your organization holds as its key values, so I believe that I would be a good fit for the mission.

It would be a good idea to start with an outline, then practice saying your introduction out loud before you arrive. Aim for about 30 seconds of content. Ideally, the recruiter you speak with will follow up with a question asking for more information about something you've mentioned. You might also continue the conversation by beginning to ask questions about what your career might be like working for the company.

If you are a first-year student attending for informational purposes, it might be a great idea to finish your introduction by saying something like, "While I'm only a first-year student, I am interested in pursing a career with your company when I am ready to graduate. What would you look for in terms of skills or experience for an entry-level hire in this position?" You can get some great suggestions for things to do or learn during your time at AU by asking questions such as that.

You can get more pre-fair tips by reviewing the slides that were presented at the Career Fair Preparation Workshop earlier this semester.

The 2013 Ashland University Spring Career Fair will take place from 1PM to 3PM on Wednesday, February 20th in the Upper Level of the John C. Myers Convocation Center. While advance registration has ended, Ashland University students and alumni may register at the door if they would like to attend. For more information, please visit the event description on our website or examine the AU Career Fair Guidebook for more information on the companies attending and a selection of open positions at their companies.

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