How to Make an Impression at Career Fairs
Feb. 15, 2017
Career fairs can be a great place to look when trying to get started in your health care career. You know the companies present are looking to hire or, at the very least, spread the word about themselves. If you don’t land a job, it’s still a great opportunity to network for future references.
There are steps anyone seeking a health care career can take to enhance their profile at a career fair. And, we want our Concorde graduates and students to be fully prepared. To ferret out that information, we enlisted the services of a couple of Concorde’s Graduate Employment Specialists, who know first-hand the ins and outs of career fairs. So, read on and learn … and, good luck in getting started in your health care career.
Making a good impression
Danielle Van der Knaap, Graduate Employment Specialist at Concorde’s campus in San Antonio, Texas, said it’s important to remember, when attending a career fair, first impressions are everything.
“Be prepared in making sure you brought enough copies of your portfolio,” she said. “Cover letter, resume, references and copies of certifications.
“Also, make sure that you are dressed in professional attire. Scrubs will be sufficient, but absolutely no jeans.”
Standing out among the health care career masses
Van der Knaap said you need to keep in mind that you are in competition with a lot of other applicants this day, so you need to ensure that you are being direct and standing out.
“Make sure you don’t just walk up to the table and take their information,” she said, “but introduce yourself and provide a firm handshake. Ask a few questions, see what positions they have available and engage yourself. Make sure you make eye contact and are not wandering around.
“Before you finish the conversation, ask for a business card. That way, when you apply, you can use them as a point in contact on the application, and you can also follow up. Then, onto the next table.”
Sandra Williams, Graduate Employment Specialist at Concorde’s campus in Memphis, Tenn., said it’s easy to become “cookie-cutter” in your approach. She encourages being creative in presenting yourself. One way to do this, she said, is to offer doing volunteer work, job shadowing or some kind of internship/externship.
“I know the idea is to seek employment, but until they actually call or schedule you for an interview, one should be prepared to give some community time to that organization,” she said. “If you are willing to come and work or shadow for self-aspiration, then chances are you will impress employers.”