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Got A Campus Interview? Don’t Go Until You Read This

March 8, 2012

It’s job fair season and we recently went back to campus to ask Donald Ward, Intern Specialist at Career Development Services at Loyola Marymount University, on how to have a successful job fair experience.  We could give you stacks of advice from the recruiter point of view, but this perspective is just as valuable, if not more pertinent to upcoming and recent grads.  So take good notes because we’ll be testing you on this…

myJoblinx: What’s the best piece of advice you can give to students so they come away with the best experience at a job fair?

Ward: The best advice I can give students attending job fairs is to do the following:

1) Do your research. Know who will be there in advance and what opportunities they offer. Looking at [company] websites, obtaining an annual report and/or conducting informational interviews are a good start.

2. Dress for success. The first impression is still a lasting impression.

3. Bring extra copies of your resumes to the job fair. However, make sure your resume is professionally formatted and checked for spelling errors.

4. Make sure you get a business card from each person you speak to. Then follow-up with a thank you card to keep your name in front of the interviewer.

myJoblinx: What is one major pitfall that should be avoided?

Ward: Avoid trying to overly impress the interviewer. Have a candid conversation with the interviewer. Have questions prepared for them to answer. Don’t linger too long so as not to appear desperate or unsure of yourself.

myJoblinx: Can you recall any memorable students who had a successful (or not so successful) job fair experience? What made them successful, or not? 

Ward: Each year there are quite a few students who come to the job fairs and are hired right on the spot. Having a great, positive personality, exhibit energy and enthusiasm for the employer’s opportunities, speak clearly and DRESS FOR SUCCESS!

myJoblinx: What tools or resources would you recommend for a student in order to maximize their job fair experience?

Ward: The primary office on-campus that each student should start with or check in with is the Career Development Service Office in Malone 201. The professional staff works directly with the employers and can give you the inside track on how to prepare and what they‘re looking for. Career Counselors can review and critique your resumes as well as provide you with some networking and interviewing techniques. Lionjobs, the Career Services database for employment and internship postings, has a summary of current postings as well as contact information. Others who might be helpful are your professors, academic advisor and program directors. Finally, tapping into the LMU Alumni Services Office adds an extra dimension of information and access available to you.

myJoblinx: Do you have any stories where a job fair contact led to an eventual internship or job? 

Ward: Again, they are many! However, regardless of past experiences and successes from other students; I would encourage each person to approach job fairs and other career events as their personal opportunity to Discover, Explore and Succeed in their own personal career preparation and journey. One person’s success or failure does not translate into another person’s experience. Through Research, Preparation and Execution every experience can be a positive building block to your transition from the Campus to Workplace.

Did you find these job fair tips helpful? Like or follow us to join the conversation.

Special thanks to Jonathan Gómez of Admissions and Donald Ward and Career Development Services at Loyola Marymount University for their cooperation and participation.

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