The Horizons Career Fair provides a variety of career presentations, company presentations, and workshops. Here you will be able to obtain general information about different career paths and you can also acquire specific information on particular job positions from representatives of many different companies and institutions related to the field of life sciences.
Since this event might be the first career fair for some of you, the following section will provide some advice on how you can make your participation in the Horizons Career Fair a personal success.
Preparing for the Horizons Career Fair:
Define Your Goals and Make a Plan – clarify your motivation of participation: Do you want general information on job offers or are you interested in internships or job offers from a certain company? Familiarize with the presenting companies and make a list of companies you want to visit at the fair. Also look at the presentation list and figure out in advance, which talks you definitely want to attend.
Make Research about the Participating Companies – do your homework. Before attending the “Horizons Career Fair”, get to know the participating companies by visiting their website, so that you can familiarize yourself with their product lines, research and development, and corporate goals. This information will help you ask questions about the companies and their positions available, and will show recruiters that you are informed and prepared.
Prepare a Resume – in case you are actively searching for a job on the career fair, a well written, error free resume is a must! Make sure you have multiple copies of both your resume and a list of references at hand.
Create a List of Questions - When the company/institution representative asks, "Do you have any questions?", it is important to have a few ready. It shows you are interested in the company and are serious about your career plans. Your question should focus on getting information about the job you are interested in. Here are some suggestions:
1. What entry-level positions in (your career interest) are available in your company, and what kind of people do you hire to fill them?
2. What duties are required for the position?
3. What skills, work experience or educational background do you look for when you recruit for these jobs?
4. What challenges and opportunities are associated with the position?
5. Can I progress at my own pace, or is the career path structured? How much contact and exposure to management is there?
6. How do you see the jobs in this field changing over the next five years? What can I do to prepare myself for such changes?
7. What are the backgrounds of other employees in your company or department?
Prepare to Answer Questions - remember, company representatives will also be asking you questions! You will be expected to think quickly, so be prepared to answer their questions. It might be helpful to create a 60-second commercial of yourself, which should include an introduction of yourself, the objective why you are at the fair and what sort of employment you seek, and a brief summary of your education, experience, strength etc.
On the day of the Horizons Career Fair:
Dress for Success – wear appropriate clothes in which you feel comfortable. Remember, you want to make a good first impression!
Arrive Early - in most cases arriving early means avoiding long lines. This way, you make sure that you don’t miss an opportunity of speaking with a company or organization that you would like to see.
Make a Plan for the Day – look around in the exhibition room and determine where the different representatives are located and plan where to go when. Avoid long lines and for your personal time schedule, keep in mind the presentations you would like to attend.
Make a Good First Impression - first impressions are important. You need to display confidence and enthusiasm. Approach a company/institution representative, smile, and offer your hand when you introduce yourself.
Practice Your Job-hunting Skills – even if you are currently not looking for a job, it might be worthwhile to talk with as many company and institution representatives as possible to practice your job-hunting skills and to collect information about different career options. Who knows - maybe you will learn about career opportunities you didn’t consider so far!
Prepare for a Follow-up – after a conversation with a company/institution representative, thank him/her for his/her time. If you are interested in further contact, ask for a business card, company literature, or a follow-up protocol. As soon as you walk away, take notes about the conversation. Some memorable points of the conversation might be valuable to include in a follow-up letter.
Reflection of the Horizons Career Fair:
Read the Information You Collected - most company/ institution representatives will have information for you to pick up, including company brochures or position descriptions. You won't have time to read all this information at the fair, so take your time after the fair to carefully look into it.
Contact Companies - in thinking about the company’s needs and your background, evaluate whether a company that interests you might be a match for you. Then, use the business cards you collected on the career fair as soon as possible to write follow-up notes to those companies and institutions that seem interesting and suitable for you.
Good luck and enjoy your time at the Horizons Career Fair!