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5 steps to making the most of a career fair

Everyone is back at school, and that means our favorite time of year is upon us – campus recruiting season. Starting this week our university talent acquisition team is visiting campuses around the world to meet the next bright minds of DRW.

    Although this is an exciting time, there’s a lot to think about as you plan for your first job, and the first stop is often your campus career fair. What’s the best way to navigate these events? Our campus recruiters have attended dozens of careers fairs and met with thousands of students. Here‘s what you can learn from their expertise:

    1. Build a Roadmap

    Before you head into what can seem like an endless maze of companies, figure out exactly where you want to go. Target companies in the industries you find compelling, with an eye on those that hire roles corresponding to your major, skill set, experience and interests.

    Your career fair website will often have a map available online – use this to plot out the companies you want to meet with and the best way through the fair so you can maximize your time. This will make the whole day feel much less overwhelming and help you stay confident and relaxed as you head from booth to booth.

    Try not to show up during the last hour of the fair when things are winding down. Don’t skip class, of course – but do your best to get there earlier in the day.

    2. Study Up

    Once you’ve narrowed down the companies you want to visit, make sure you do the proper research. Be familiar with their business, and not just on a superficial level. Recruiters want to know that you’re willing to dig in to find out about the firm’s business model, projects and positions on key industry topics. You should also know what specific role you’re interested in and how that role contributes to the firm’s goals.

    It can be helpful to look at the LinkedIn profiles of current employees. What are their backgrounds? Is your background similar? Beyond the website, what are employees saying on Glassdoor and social media about the firm? Have there been any recent news stories about the firm or speaking engagements by employees? If you can speak with someone who works in the industry before the career fair, even better.

    3. The Introduction

    This part can feel awkward and forced, but don’t sweat it. When you make your way to the booth, start with a simple hello, ask the recruiter how their day is going, and introduce yourself. Share your major and skill set, identify the role you’re interested in, and explain how your background might match up. The recruiter will lead things from there by asking you questions about your resume and experience.

    The most important things to hit in this first meeting? Getting across your passion for the industry, demonstrating you’ve done your homework, and sharing a bit of your personality.

    4. What’s Next?

    Firms will often have another event on campus that’s more targeted than a career fair. Make sure you ask the recruiters about any other events the company is hosting on your campus. DRW often hosts multiple events on campus – check out our campus website (https://drw.com/oncampus) and RSVP to any events happening at your school.

    5. The Follow Up

    Be sure to send an email follow up – short and sweet emails are a nice touch at every step of the interview process. Remind the recruiter who you are, mention what you found most helpful or interesting about the experience, and share that you’re looking forward to next steps. Don’t forget to send the follow up email within 24 hours.

    Get all the details about DRW’s full time and internship opportunities @ DRW.com/oncampus.