How to prepare for a career fair?

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HarveyBirdman
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How to prepare for a career fair?

Postby HarveyBirdman » Sun Apr 03, 2011 6:13 pm

I wasn't sure what forum this would belong in, so I put it in here. The career fair I'm referring to is one at my college. There will be employers there from several fields, probably nothing legal oriented. BUT I will be going to this in hopes of finding a good job for my last year of college/few months to a year before law school, so it's kind of related to applying to law schools. And I figured I'd ask you guys because there's probably a lot of people here who have had experience with these, and I've never been to one.

So should I do extensive research on each company? Look up their website, any local news articles on them, make notes on cards and review them feverishly before the fair?

I'm afraid that I'm going to get there, awkwardly shake hands, and forget everything I would want to ask them or say about myself. I feel like the whole thing is going to be about 30 terrible interviews one after the other, and then on top of that I'm going to screw up some unwritten etiquette.

I work now, but it's a retail job. I've been there almost three years. I'm TIRED of it. My major is in accounting so in theory I'm pretty versatile to work in any business setting, but 1. I don't know how to sell myself and 2. I have no connections. Really none. I think my parents stopped talking to people in 1983, so they know no one and thus I know no older, successful people that could help me. Please help me.

tourdeforcex
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Re: How to prepare for a career fair?

Postby tourdeforcex » Sun Apr 03, 2011 9:34 pm

So should I do extensive research on each company? Look up their website, any local news articles on them, make notes on cards and review them feverishly before the fair?


no. spend some effort to get to know 5-10 companies that you might want to work for. take 3-4 lines of notes. end

I'm afraid that I'm going to get there, awkwardly shake hands, and forget everything I would want to ask them or say about myself. I feel like the whole thing is going to be about 30 terrible interviews one after the other, and then on top of that I'm going to screw up some unwritten etiquette.


you will do that. and you will be better from it. that's the whole point of the career fair. in fact, your approach should be out of 30 terrible interviews, i will seem less terrible to 5-10 places that will actually look at my pretty good resume and they might call for a first round interview. as an idea, visit tables/people/companies that you have no interest working for to warm up.

1. I don't know how to sell myself and 2. I have no connections.


write out 2 paragraphs right how about why a company should even consider hiring you. be aggressive. borderline make shit up. this is how business works.

best wishes.

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Judge Philip Banks
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Re: How to prepare for a career fair?

Postby Judge Philip Banks » Sun Apr 03, 2011 10:47 pm

tourdeforcex wrote:borderline make shit up.

ಠ_ಠ

But yeah, I know what you mean.

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Cupidity
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Re: How to prepare for a career fair?

Postby Cupidity » Sun Apr 03, 2011 10:55 pm

Seriously, for a career fair? None of the people there have the power to hire you, they are salesmen. Don't sweat it, shake some hands and fill out some apps.

LoyalRebel
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Re: How to prepare for a career fair?

Postby LoyalRebel » Sun Apr 03, 2011 10:58 pm

You're an accounting major; you're in demand. Remember that.

I'm an accounting major myself, and companies would wine and dine us to try to recruit us. It was all really fun. Here's a few things from the fairly extensive recruiting process I went though for my internship:

- Don't be over confident. I know you're supposed to go in there and act like you're the living shit, but it's a turn-off to firms if they sense you don't think they're worth your time. It's probably good to be slightly nervous, it gives them a sense that you're teachable and don't think you know everything already. Having said that, definitely look people in the eye when you talk to them and be able to converse.

- Don't drink too much at recruiting events. The open bar is nice (and free), but I've seen people lose grace that way as you can imagine.

- Remember that they're there to recruit YOU, not the other way around. Don't try anything too brash to try to get their attention. Just be calm, answer their questions deliberately, and try not to want it too much. There may be one firm you really like, but honestly there's really not a whole lot you can do there to make them want you more. There IS, however, a lot you can do to make them not want you. Your resume speaks about your education, they just want to meet you to make sure you're not a total weirdo.

- Personal tip: I think it's best to find a friend with the same major as you to go around and visit at least some of the booths with. I find it keeps conversation going better than if it's just one-on-one. Of course, that's just personal and other people might be better one-on-one.

LoyalRebel
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Re: How to prepare for a career fair?

Postby LoyalRebel » Sun Apr 03, 2011 10:59 pm

Cupidity wrote:Seriously, for a career fair? None of the people there have the power to hire you, they are salesmen. Don't sweat it, shake some hands and fill out some apps.


Wrong. In my experience, all the firms I met with had at least one full time recruiter and/or partner who had a large impact on the hiring.

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Patriot1208
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Re: How to prepare for a career fair?

Postby Patriot1208 » Mon Apr 04, 2011 7:32 am

LoyalRebel wrote:
Cupidity wrote:Seriously, for a career fair? None of the people there have the power to hire you, they are salesmen. Don't sweat it, shake some hands and fill out some apps.


Wrong. In my experience, all the firms I met with had at least one full time recruiter and/or partner who had a large impact on the hiring.

Meh, you both are wrong, in my experience. Generally, it tends to people who have the power to get you interviews but not anyone who has a big impact on whether or not you are hired. For example Deloitte will have several recruiters and one associate who will be able to get you an interview. But the associate isn't senior enough to have any real power in getting you hired, just enough to get you that interview. The same thing was basically true with Goldman Sachs. There were events on campus that a senior partner attended but never the career fair. The career fair was HR and a few analysts/associates. Career Fairs, are in large part, just informational. You may be able to get an interview out of them but you are unlikely to make meaningful contact with anything that will lead to a job. That goal is to use the contact you make at the career fair to make further contacts and network.

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HarveyBirdman
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Re: How to prepare for a career fair?

Postby HarveyBirdman » Mon Apr 04, 2011 2:15 pm

well let me clarify, i'm an accounting major but this is not an accounting career fair. looking at the list, it's really a hodge-podge of local companies, everything from call centers to something that might be relevant to my major. though i haven't seen one listing for accounting, student or otherwise.

i think it's funny you guys are saying some different things here...i hate shit like this. i really don't know what to expect at this career fair, i realize. i guess i don't really expect to find a job. real jobs are scarily impossible to find it seems. it's quite discouraging when all you want to do is make $13-15/hr and well, can't. oh well the search continues.

LoyalRebel
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Re: How to prepare for a career fair?

Postby LoyalRebel » Mon Apr 04, 2011 2:31 pm

HarveyBirdman wrote:well let me clarify, i'm an accounting major but this is not an accounting career fair. looking at the list, it's really a hodge-podge of local companies, everything from call centers to something that might be relevant to my major. though i haven't seen one listing for accounting, student or otherwise.

i think it's funny you guys are saying some different things here...i hate shit like this. i really don't know what to expect at this career fair, i realize. i guess i don't really expect to find a job. real jobs are scarily impossible to find it seems. it's quite discouraging when all you want to do is make $13-15/hr and well, can't. oh well the search continues.


Honestly you shouldn't take any internship for less than $20 per hour. There are plenty out there - especially in accounting.

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Patriot1208
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Re: How to prepare for a career fair?

Postby Patriot1208 » Mon Apr 04, 2011 2:43 pm

HarveyBirdman wrote:well let me clarify, i'm an accounting major but this is not an accounting career fair. looking at the list, it's really a hodge-podge of local companies, everything from call centers to something that might be relevant to my major. though i haven't seen one listing for accounting, student or otherwise.

i think it's funny you guys are saying some different things here...i hate shit like this. i really don't know what to expect at this career fair, i realize. i guess i don't really expect to find a job. real jobs are scarily impossible to find it seems. it's quite discouraging when all you want to do is make $13-15/hr and well, can't. oh well the search continues.

I don't know where you go to school but accounting jobs are extremely numerous. You need to set up a time to meet with your career services office, get some alumni contact numbers, and start looking. Just throwing apps to random postings online isn't getting anyone a job. But if you can't find a job in accounting it's because you didn't really try.

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HarveyBirdman
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Re: How to prepare for a career fair?

Postby HarveyBirdman » Mon Apr 04, 2011 3:49 pm

haha what part of the country are you above two guys in where "accounting jobs are numerous" and i can expect $20/hr? this is ohio. i'm just not seeing it. the few internships i did find were unpaid.

i don't have my degree yet, but i'm close to finishing. i've been obsessing over every possible job site for the last month on a daily basis...the only event i know of that my school does for accounting specifically is something held in september. i was hoping to not have to wait that long.

tourdeforcex
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Re: How to prepare for a career fair?

Postby tourdeforcex » Mon Apr 04, 2011 3:52 pm

i guess i don't really expect to find a job. real jobs are scarily impossible to find it seems. it's quite discouraging when all you want to do is make $13-15/hr and well, can't.


you sound hungry and want to get paid.

the credited response is send out 100 resumes/applications. you'll get interviews if your GPA is high enough. set a goal of 10-15 places that you've applied to per week. you'll get interviews.

stay focused.

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Patriot1208
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Re: How to prepare for a career fair?

Postby Patriot1208 » Mon Apr 04, 2011 4:02 pm

HarveyBirdman wrote:haha what part of the country are you above two guys in where "accounting jobs are numerous" and i can expect $20/hr? this is ohio. i'm just not seeing it. the few internships i did find were unpaid.

i don't have my degree yet, but i'm close to finishing. i've been obsessing over every possible job site for the last month on a daily basis...the only event i know of that my school does for accounting specifically is something held in september. i was hoping to not have to wait that long.

accounting jobs are numerous in ohio. Seriously get off monster and get in an alumni list. I could have a finance job in dayton tomorrow because of the networking I've done.

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HarveyBirdman
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Re: How to prepare for a career fair?

Postby HarveyBirdman » Wed Apr 06, 2011 12:38 pm

well i don't disagree with you if you're referring to someone who at least has their bachelor's degree, though many job postings i've seen have also asked for the 150 hours completed to be eligible to sit for the CPA exam. and really a lot that were even labeled entry level asked for 1-3 years experience! then there's the "bookkeeping" branch of jobs, they all want experience of course, particularly with working with software such as quickbooks, peachtree, great plains, etc. well i don't know what this says about my school's accounting program but i've never been exposed to any of those.

apparently i am completely ignorant on how to find a job. please describe the steps you took to get to the point where you could "have a finance job in dayton tomorrow."

my other dilemma is if i accept a full time summer internship position somewhere, my current sucky retail job is left in limbo. i could juggle the two as part time, but if the internship expects me to work 40 hours a week, and i've got evening classes, that doesn't leave much room to work my retail job in order to keep it once the internship ends. and i need that job because that's how i pay for school. i could just say oh well and find a different crappy job once the internship is over, but then i'd be bumped back down to minimum wage and would have to find somewhere with the same flexibility and convenience...so i'd like to find a permanent accounting job and just be done with it.

LoyalRebel
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Re: How to prepare for a career fair?

Postby LoyalRebel » Wed Apr 06, 2011 3:50 pm

Our accounting school has an internship program - basically our dean submits our resumes and firms come and recruit. That's how I got the majority of my interviews. However, I also networked at the career fairs and got several that way - I advise you to do the same.

It's not hard really, just bring a bunch of resumes to the career fair, shake hands and hand them out. Make sure you try to hand it to every company there and indicate you're interested in an accounting position. They'll almost always give you a business card and you can use that to follow up (on the ones that sound like they might be interested) if you don't hear from them.

Ask your accounting professors for recommendations. They almost always have connections with firms and can give you people that you can e-mail with your resume. The trick is to send out a lot of resumes and that's really all there is to it. Unless you have a really good resume, you may not be able to be all that picky, but anything above a 3.0 GPA should land you a few $20 per hour internship offers.

I'm telling you man, it's like shooting fish in a barrel. Get out at least 30 resumes and you'll be out of that shitty retail job for good.




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