When we were taking employers back to the parking garage to get their cars after the Career Expo last Thursday, we decided to ask them to give us some feedback about the event. Never at a loss for words, they gave us lots! I decided that it’s much more appropriate to share this information with job seekers rather than keep it to myself, so here it is…
· Students who prepared (researched the employer and the positions available) stood out.
· Employers were VERY impressed by students who included their elevator pitches as part of their conversation and not just a “brain dump.”
· Students who are under-dressed or under-prepared are not taken seriously.
· Although students may see the career fair as information gathering, nearly all employers view it as a first step in the interview process.
We also asked whether they wanted to see a cover letter with an application. Answers were varied but the most common was, “It depends.” That being said, they agreed that the most effective cover letter was short and sweet—tell why you want that particular job and that particular company and include the skills, abilities, and aptitudes that make you a good candidate. General cover letters (“I’m a motivated self-starter and I think your company looks interesting.”) ensure that the attached resume doesn't get read.
Although the advice from employers doesn't differ from what we in Career Services advise, it’s always worth asking—and doubly worth sharing!