Career Fairs – What Exactly Do They Want?

By Melissa Nau

Even though Starbucks started pushing pumpkin spice on you the second it turned September, the summer is now actually over. Hopefully I’ve given you enough time to trudge back to your alma matter, get reacquainted with your college buddies, complain about assignments, and get right back into career mode. Since I know you already have a perfect resume, for those of you going back to the old academic grind it’s time to talk about one of your school’s best resources and your mom’s favorite thing to remind you about: The Career Fair.

While I always thought a career fair was a bunch of business students in suits mulling around like zombies, there’s actually more to it than that. Chances are, your college will have a career fair just for you—whether it’s environmental science, engineering, or even sustainability, your major has a market, and that market is made up of companies with job openings. They even differentiate between internship fairs and full time recruiting fairs, so you’ll be able to choose what you want right away depending on how many years (or months) of school you have left. It’s best to look up your school’s available career fairs at the beginning of the year, that way you can narrow down your options based on your class times, or even discuss options with your professors to avoid potential conflicts.

Overall, you should think of your interactions at career fairs as mini interviews. You wouldn’t show up to a first interview knowing absolutely nothing about the company you’re interacting with—preparation is key. You should be prepared to share your knowledge of the company whose booth you are standing in front of, and equally prepared to absorb the knowledge you’re missing. Your school will provide a list of companies who will be attending the career fair ahead of time, so get to Googling the ones that catch your eye.

Below I’ve made a list of short tips for proper career fair etiquette, followed by a list of career fairs Roux will be attending at the end of this year and early 2017. To see what positions we have open currently, check out our Careers Page.

Quick Career Fair Tips

  • Bring many copies of your resume and know what is on it! Make sure you have something to say about every bullet point so you’re not caught off guard.
  • With that being said, try to find a balance between being over-rehearsed and under-prepared when it comes to talking about yourself and your achievements.
  • Try to introduce yourself and give a quick overview of what the recruiter is about to see on your resume, rather than just shoving the piece of paper in their face.
  • Pretend you’re playing tennis: as mentioned, this shouldn’t be all about you. Let the recruiter give their overview as well. Give them time to ask you questions, and they will do the same for you.
  • Be confident, not cocky.
  • Be yourself. Yes this is corny, but recruiters do not want to hire a robot. Career fairs are a good test of your human interaction skills, which a lot of us need to work on. We want smart, well-spoken college graduates to join our team, but we also want people who are friendly, personable, and able to carry a casual conversation. While the atmosphere of a career fair tends to be noisy and chaotic, you’ll be able to make a lasting impression by speaking clearly and making eye-contact. Balance comes into play here as well—you don’t have to yell, but if you’re mumbling and can’t be heard, you’ll likely be forgotten.
  • Frame your interaction based on what you can offer the firm, not the other way around.
  • Dress to impress, obviously.
  • When researching a company, look at their office locations. Whether or not you’re honestly willing to relocate is important to a company; it’s almost always mentioned on a job application. Knowing the office locations will not only let recruiters know that you’ve read up on the company, but you can mention a specific office if it’s within range of where you want to live. For example, if you’re interested in Roux’s New Jersey office specifically, you could mention that to our recruiters and we could help you learn more about that particular office.
  • In addition to preparedness, punctuality is key! An inside source told me they were most impressed by the first person who came to Roux’s booth at a recent fair, and least impressed by the last person. If you have the power to make it on time, definitely go for it. You’re showing our firm that you’re super interested and ready to go. If you show up at 3:50 pm when the fair ends at 4, we’re going to assume we’re your last resort.

Upcoming Roux Recruiting Events

Tufts University Fall Career Fair
September 30 @ 11:30 am – 2:30 pm

Manhattan College 2016 STEM Career Fair
October 4 @ 12:00 pm – 4:00 pm

University of New Hampshire 2016 Fall Career & Internship Fair
October 5 @ 12:00 pm – 4:00 pm

Columbia University Engineering Career Fair
October 14 @ 11:00 am – 4:00 pm

UMass Lowell Fall Career Fair
October 26 @ 2:00 pm – 5:00 pm

All Ivy Environmental & Sustainable Development Career Fair
March 3, 2017 @ 10:00 am – 3:00 pm

One more tip: Save this page under your favorites and check back in the future!
We’re always adding more career fairs to the list.

Resume Writing, Part 1: Quick Tips & Prewriting Guidelines

By Melissa Nau

If you’re finally tired of sipping cold drinks in the sun and/or binge watching Netflix without leaving your house for weeks, you may want to check your bank account, panic, and keep looking for a job. As long as you’re ready, I’m here to help.

Last time, we discussed preliminary steps for job searching—including updating LinkedIn, creating accounts on CareerBuilder and/or Monster, and briefly mentioned updating your resume. Since your resume is your real first impression with any employer and sometimes even potential networking contacts, I’ve decided to backtrack and spend some time going over what goes into a good resume.

 Resume Writing, Part 1: Quick Tips & Prewriting Guidelines*

While we all like to be sure of ourselves and confidence is key in interviews, you might have to accept the fact that your resume isn’t perfect. Luckily, there are a few tips to keep in mind that you can use to revamp your resume in seconds:

1. Please PDF. I wasn’t kidding when I said you can revamp in seconds. You most likely created your resume in a Word document, which is to be expected, but it’s best to save it as a PDF. Why? It looks cleaner, is usually the preferred format while applying online, and it will not automatically underline “misspelled” words aka the names of your schools and former jobs. This should also apply to cover letters. To do this, click on File while in Word and then Save as Adobe PDF. If you have an older version of Word or do not have Adobe this feature may not be built in—you can use a friend’s computer/the library/your work computer (on your break time of course), or update your software. After this quick step you’ll have two different versions of your resume (doc/docx and pdf), so if a job application requires a specific file, you’ll already have it covered.

2. Get Gmail. Though this isn’t mandatory, getting a Gmail account is a helpful tool. If your current email address is less than professional and/or from the ancient era of Hotmail, try creating a Gmail account as yourname@gmail.com. If your name is taken, try adding one extra character. You want this email address to be as simple as possible; check your creativity at the door. You would expect this to be common sense, but you’d be surprised. The reason why this step is helpful is because not only are you “branding” your name to your resume, but your ultimate goal is to look professional. Though it is a tiny part of your overall resume, your email address says a lot about you—if yours contains a strange nickname or an inappropriate string of letters or numbers, it could be an instant turnoff, no matter how qualified you may be. Also, keep in mind that some college email accounts will shut down in your post-colligate years. My college account is still active, but mine was also a series of nonsensical letters and numbers which looks like spam at first glance. By creating a Gmail address with your name in it, you’re further clarifying to employers, recruiters, and the Internet in general that you are an actual person who needs a job, not the emperor of an elaborate pyramid scheme. You’ll also be free to check this separate job email without getting distracted by SALES!!!!! and your abysmal bank statements.

resume1
Actual emails from my seldom used AOL email account

3. One and Done. This may or may not take you more than a few seconds, but it’s probably the most important rule of thumb: Make your resume one page. Just one. Seriously. This should be your cardinal rule for multiple reasons, including the obvious one: employers don’t want to read a novel, they want to fill a position. Other reasons include file size, visual appeal, and because I told you to. But above all else, in writing anything ever, economizing is just as important as the story you’re telling. Economizing in this sense refers to your ability to pick and choose what is important to tell other people about yourself. If you can choose and prioritize your top attributes and have the good sense to cut out your not-so-relevant experiences, you can prioritize the tasks your future boss asks of you. Kindly understand that nobody cares you were a lifeguard if you’re applying for a job as an accountant. If your resume remains an endless litany of jumbled facts, you won’t exactly come across as someone who has “excellent organizational skills.”

While keeping this in mind you can now ask yourself: Well, what should I put on my resume?
The answer should always be: Only what you can fit while keeping your experiences relevant to the job you’re after.

Now that you know the quick tips and basic commandments of resume writing, you may want to start a new resume from scratch. Before you even start Googling templates, Word is your best resource. You can go to File > New > and search “Resume” under Office.com Templates where you’ll find a wide array of free options.

resumetemplates

The highlighted “entry-level” template on is what you’re looking for. Some are fancier than others. To be safe, I’d go with strictly black text/white background, unless you’re a designer, artist, etc., where your profession is dependent on your sense of style and color. If you’re going for a job where you’re being judged by your resume and not a portfolio, the words will matter more than the template.

These designs are great, but you’ll likely want to tweak them. Your name should not be size 72 and bolded no matter how much free space you have (see “Resume (Essential design)” above). And conversely, if you’re trying to fit a lot of content on one page, you should definitely widen the margins on the top of your sheet to give yourself more room.

margins

I know this was a lot to throw at you, so feel free to go back to watching season 14 episode 22 of whatever tantalizing series you’ve stumbled upon this summer. Next week when you need a break from your rough life, I’ll disclose what to actually write on your resume, how to choose the most relevant information, and dissect some real resumes to provide reliable examples and save you from clichés.

*Will be followed by Resume Writing, Part 2: Actually Writing/What to Include