Negativity bias is the psychological phenomenon by which humans have a greater recall of unpleasant memories compared with positive memories. Make sure you don’t leave potential employers with negative memories about you! Follow this list of what NOT to do at the career fair.
1.) Dress unprofessionally. If you don’t have a suit, wear the nicest clothes you have and make sure they are clean and pressed. Remember that conservative is always a safe choice and a career fair is not the club, the gym, your bedroom, or a concert. So leave the mini-skirts, tank tops, yoga pants, tee shirts, pajamas, and jeans at home!
2.) Forget your resume or not bring enough. Believe it or not, a resume is very important to the recruiter even if they direct you to apply on-line. This will be one of the things they use to remember you and their impression of you.
3.) Bring an out of date resume. This is your professional ad. Take the time to make it the best representation of you and your skills. Have your resume reviewed by a career counselor before the career fair!
4.) Start the conversation by saying “so what are you guys hiring for?” You KNOW that you need to research the companies you’re interested in speaking to at the fair…RIGHT?!? Look on the events tab on careers.unc.edu to locate the fair you are attending. This is where you can see the employers who will be at each fair. Who will you speak to? What are they hiring for? What can you learn about the company before the fair so that you can ask informed questions? Which of your skills will they be most interested in hearing about? This is all part of planning and making a great impression!
5.) Interrupt a recruiter who is talking with others. Rude. Be patient and wait your turn.
6.) Monopolize a recruiter’s time. Again, rude. If there are others waiting, be sure you are not asking too many questions and you are reading the recruiter’s body language. Be aware of what is going on around you and be considerate of the recruiter’s time. Consideration can go a long way.
7.) Forget to do your homework. Have you practiced your introduction? Do you know how to talk concisely about your past experiences and achievements? Did you research the employers and the jobs or internships they are offering? Do you have good questions for the recruiter?
8.) Chew gum. (Totally not professional!) But do have fresh breath. There are few things that leave a worse impression than bad breath or body odor!
9.) Be intimidated. Confidence and eye contact while speaking to an employer can go a long way. Look up from the floor, smile, extend your hand, introduce yourself, RELAX and be yourself!
10.) Forget to follow-up. You should be collecting business cards from everyone you speak with at the career fair. Be sure to follow-up via a well written email within 24-48 hours. Thank the employer for their time and mention something specific you talked about. Reiterate your interest in X position. Invite them to contact you.
That’s it! Now you can go make a lasting positive impression by knowing what NOT to do!