5 Things I Learned at the STHM Career Fair
STHM graduate student Geena Bevenour shares her tips and takeaways for making the most of a career fair.
The career fair may be a source of excitement for some, presenting an opportunity to get in front of the company of one’s dreams. Others may be frightened at the idea of engaging with potential employers. For me, the career fair was an opportunity for exposure to an industry that I have recently taken the plunge into. My experience as an STHM student began this past fall when I started the Master in Travel and Tourism. My undergraduate degree in communications combined with my experiences and passion for traveling, leading me to enroll in this program. Each day I feel more solidified in my choice of industry.
No matter if you are interested in sport management, tourism or hospitality, the range of potential opportunities within these fields are extensive. As a travel and tourism student, I am always asking myself: Should I work for a DMO (destination marketing organization) or am I more interested in convention and visitor centers? Maybe I’d like to be directly involved with tourism attractions instead? Or international resorts? Having ideas is great, but having the ability to talk to professionals in the industry is better. Cue the career fair.
My biggest takeaway from STHM’s 27th Annual Career Fair was exposure to businesses in the industry, many of which I did not know existed prior, as well as the ability to connect with the professionals within them. From preparation to follow-ups, here are my five tips to make the most of a career fair:
- Know who’s going. There are a whole lot of companies at career fairs and you don’t want to waste time talking to ones you are not interested in. The STHM Career Fair hosted more than 50 companies this year so researching the companies I wanted to approach before arriving was crucial to maximizing my time. Having background knowledge on the company also makes a good first impression and conversation flows more easily when you know who you’re talking to.
- Know yourself. You are not the only one asking the questions. Representatives will want to know more about your interests, experiences, and career goals in order to gauge how you’d best fit in with their company. Practice being comfortable talking about yourself in a business-like setting so when the time comes, you’re able to articulate yourself in a way that is true to your aspirations.
- Utilize business cards and resumes. The career fair is all about networking. Successful networking does not end when the event does, rather it requires nurturing those relationships beyond the simple exchange of information. Have a business card or resume on hand to give to companies that particularly interest you and make sure to ask for their information as well. Organize them, keep them, connect with them digitally (LinkedIn is a great place to do this!) and reach out to thank them for taking the time to chat at the fair. A little effort goes a long way.
- Bring a padfolio. So, you have a list of companies you want to chat with, you have some notes about them, you have resumes and business cards on hand – put them all in your padfolio! It looks professional and it’s a cheat sheet to keep you organized all career fair long. Plus, it serves as a great place to put the business cards you collect and take any additional notes.
- Look out for alumni. STHM has some of the best alumni around and many of them come back as representatives for their companies. They know the ins and outs of taking an STHM education experience into the real world. Not only can their journey help you to navigate yours, but having connections such as these can be priceless when wanting to stand out for a position.
Hear more from industry partners and students about our career fairs.