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Making the Most of a Career Fair

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Heather Krasna

on 15 October 2018

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Transcript of Making the Most of a Career Fair

Making the Most of a Career Fair
Why Attend?
A Career Fair may:
Get you a job or internship interview
Build connections and networks
Distinguish yourself from those who don't attend
Provide you with real job market information and employer information
Make a good impression on target employers
It's unlikely to get you a job offer on the spot!
Before the Fair
Know yourself and what you are looking for
Research organizations who will be attending: mission, roles available
Build a resume
Prepare your 30-second pitch
Get your materials ready: resume, business attire, etc.
Know Yourself
Mission/Issue: what mission do you want to be part of? What organizations serve that mission? What draws you to the mission?
Role: what function do you want to do, or skills do you want to use? Do you want to do program management, research, outreach? What are your top skills?
Research the Organizations
Visit their website
Know their mission
Find out what kinds of jobs they tend to have
Research current trends in the field
Create Your Resume
Read job description of your target jobs
Use the language of the future employer
Quantify your accomplishments
Keep it easy to read, neat, well-formatted

Sample Bullet Points:
Saved $10,000 and improved accuracy 20% by single-handedly implementing new online billing system
Improved understanding of reproductive health for 200 low-income youth through in-person and online trainings, receiving highest evaluations from 95% of participants
Expanded partnerships by 50%, leading to significant increases in service utilization
Create a 30-second "pitch"
I'm a recent MPH graduate focused on global health. I was a Population and Family Health student while I was in school, and I did a 6-month practicum in Malawi where I led a program evaluation of a maternal health project in 7 remote villages. I also have prior experience as a Peace Corps volunteer in Namibia, working on water, sanitation and hygiene projects. I also speak French and have experience with SPSS. Can you tell me a bit more about the monitoring & evaluation positions you have available?
I'm a first-year biostatistics student here at the Mailman School. Before coming here, I studied biochemistry in China, and I gained research experience in a clinical setting, studying genetic abnormalities. I also conducted statistical analysis of the lab results. Right now, I'm taking several classes on research methods and data analysis. I'm especially interested in a position in a pharmaceutical company like yours. I read about the new drug you are launching, and I'm interested to contribute to achievements like that. Do you have internships for biostatistics students?
At the Fair: What Really Happens
Enter the fair, find the employer you want to speak to, wait in line
Meet the employer: handshake, smile, 30 second intro
Hand them your resume; have a 3-5 minute conversation
End with handshake, smile, request their business card; follow up.

After the Fair
Send a thank-you email
Complete any applications; visit and apply via websites; mention your meeting at the job fair
Be persistent, polite, and positive
Keep your contact information organized

Closing the Conversations
Be enthusiastic!
Smile, make eye contact, shake hands
"It was great meeting you today. I will definitely apply for the position. Could I have your business card so I can follow up with you later?"
After you walk away, make a note to yourself about what you discussed

Be patient if waiting in a line
Prioritize who you want to speak with; speak with your third-favorite employer first
Approach the employer by yourself, not in a group or with a friend
Be open-minded--try the lesser-known employers
Other Tips
How to Introduce Yourself
Handshake—firm, short, one hand (note public health etiquette)
Eye contact
Physical distance—2-3 feet
Stand up straight and solid
SMILE! Show your enthusiasm with vocal tone and volume
Say your name clearly, separate first & last name
Listen carefully for the other person’s name
What to Wear/Bring
Comfortable but professional shoes (heels or flats, NOT boots, open-toed shoes, spike heels)
Business attire (business suit or dress/blazer; suit, jacket & tie--black socks)
Neat grooming
Bring a professional portfolio with 40+ resumes; no extra items
Presented by Office of Career Services
Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University
Epidemiology Wordle from Wordle.net
Questions to Ask
Can you tell me more about the opportunities for internships?
What do you typically look for in a _____ student?
Can you tell me about the company culture?
As a first year student, do you have any suggestions for things I could be doing now to make myself the best candidate in future?
How are you enjoying the fair?
Revisit this presentation:

Watch the video:

Evaluate this workshop:
YOU: "Hi my name is Jane Doe, and I'm a first-year Sociomedical Science student with a Certificate in Health Promotion Research and Practice. I'm really excited that XYZ Health is here--I've researched your organization and the work you do is so innovative! I read that your organization has Health Promotion positions--could you tell me a little more about that role?"

EMPLOYER: "Yes, we are looking for people with experience working with diverse populations who are fluent in Spanish and have a background in evidence-based health education programs."

YOU: "That sounds perfect for me. I was actually a health peer educator in undergrad, and I am a mentor to students from Washington Heights as part of the Lang Program, and I speak Spanish. Could I give you my resume?"

EMPLOYER: "Please!" ...
Full transcript