Feb 11, 2024 8:02 PM
Before the Fair
Research and Preparation
Polish Your Resume: Don’t walk, run to your computer and dust off your resume. Ensure it reflects your most recent accolades, awards, and experience. Tailor each bullet point to highlight the skills relevant to the roles/companies for which you are interested in. Once finalized, head to your local library to print copies to distribute to recruiters. For added professionalism, print your resume on cardstock paper to significantly distinguish your resume, leaving a lasting impression on recruiters.
Prepare Your Elevator Pitch: Go to your mirror and take a look at how cool you are. You finished yet? Now take a minute to recite your elevator pitch. Practice makes perfect. Craft a short, impactful pitch that gives employers a background on who you are including: name, major/minor, academic year, employment experience, campus involvement, and what roles you are interested in.
Plan Your Outfit: Save the suit for your wedding. Startup culture is innovative and welcoming. Let this reflect in your style. Whether it's rocking a hoodie and jeans after pulling an all-nighter or styling a thrifted leather jacket. Show up in what makes you feel most comfortable and confident.
Prepare Questions: Just like how relationships are two-sided, so are career fairs. Employers want you to get to know them, as much as they want to get to know you! Prepare a list of insightful questions. Even though it might be tempting, resist asking if they prefer blueberry matcha or regular matcha from Dulce, they probably don’t even know where that is. Instead, focus on questions about the day-to-day responsibilities of the role you’re interested in, the type of traits they look for in employees they recruit, or how their product/service has impacted the industry they serve.
Check Out Participating Startups: We know… the SCF Team killed it in recruiting so many companies, so might not know them all. That’s okay, we have a whole page dedicated to enlightening students about all the incredible companies attending. Visit the career fair website at www.sparksc.org/scf to learn about the startups attending. Identify your top companies and research their culture, products, and open positions.
Explore the Event Map: “Trousdale Parkway is so big how am I ever going to find the startups I want to talk to…” said no one ever after viewing our interactive event map listing the table locations of each startup. Check it out to streamline your visit and maximize your networking opportunities.
Be Early: Lines got you stressed out? Arrive early to get a chance to network before the crowd arrives. This will also show your eagerness and commitment to working at their startup.
Collect Contact Information: Unless you want to make a post on USC’s MissedConnections about the recruiter you kicked it off with, before leaving the booth make sure you get the contact information of the people you spoke with for follow-up thank you messages.
Follow Up: Don’t keep your new LinkedIn connection waiting ;) Send personalized thank you messages to the representatives you spoke with, expressing your gratitude for their time and reiterating your interest. This will ensure you stand out from the crowd and land your dream job or internship.
By following this checklist, you'll be well-prepared to make a strong impression at the Startup Career Fair and take the next step in your career journey. Good luck!