How to prepare for the Careers in Communication Fair

Are you planning to participate in the Careers in Communication Fair on March 26? We hosted a workshop to help you prepare for the event, including how to find out what employers are attending, preparing your resume, practicing your professional introduction or elevator pitch, and how to successfully connect with employers. Below you will find a summary of the workshop, and you can view the recording for more information.

Do you have questions about this event? Contact the Career Events team at 352-273-2331 or ccccareerfairs@ufsa.ufl.edu. Looking for 1-on-1 assistance with your preparations? Schedule a Career Planning appointment with Claire Stephens-Tucker, Career Foundations coach.

Workshop Summary

David emphasized the importance of researching participating companies and strategies for making professional introductions at the upcoming fair. He highlighted that the fair offers opportunities in various fields such as advertising, journalism, PR, media production management, and technology, and is open to all UF students and alumni.

Career Fair Preparation Strategies

David discussed the strategies to prepare for the upcoming career fair. He suggested researching the attending companies, updating resumes, and dressing professionally. He also emphasized the importance of networking through platforms like LinkedIn and making a professional introduction. David recommended using career resources such as the company’s websites, the UF Career Hub, and the Gator CareerLink app or website to gather information about the companies and available opportunities. He stressed the need for continuous learning about the organizations and their needs, and the potential to ask questions about recruitment focuses during the fair.

Researching Companies with Gator CareerLink

David emphasized the importance of preparation for a career fair, encouraging attendees to make notes on the companies they’re interested in and what they’ve learned about them. He discussed the use of Gator CareerLink, a platform where attendees can learn about companies, request career planning appointments, and share their resumes with recruiters. David also demonstrated how to find out which companies are attending a specific career fair on the platform, including how to narrow down the list of companies using various filters, such as job type and industry. He also recommended that students prepare a list of priority companies to connect with at the upcoming summer experience fair.

Resume, Professional Attire, Elevator Pitch, and Following Up

Additionally, David emphasized the importance of tailoring resumes to the specific roles students are interested in, ensuring they are free of errors and using appropriate keywords and skills. He also mentioned the availability of resources such as Quinncia, an AI-powered resume review portal, to assist students in refining their resumes. He also highlighted the significance of professional attire, recommending business or professional attire, and shared about the Gator Career Closet resource for students who need professional attire. David further discussed the importance of a professional introduction, encouraging students to be confident but conversational. He also stressed the need for students to be prepared to discuss their experiences and research about the company they’re interested in. Finally, David outlined the next steps for students after the fair, including checking emails and voicemails, following up on action steps, and sending thank you notes.

Connecting with Recruiters at a Career Fair

David introduced recruiters Radu and Jennifer, who represented their respective companies, TEGNA and &barr, which will be attending the fair. The conversation revolved around the qualities they look for in potential interns, with a focus on personality, communication skills, and the ability to build relationships. Both speakers encouraged students to attend career fairs early and often, and to follow up with the companies they met. They also stressed the importance of relationship building, even beyond the initial meeting.

David, Radu, and Jennifer discussed the importance of attending career fairs for students, even if they are not yet ready for an internship. They emphasized the value of building connections with companies, even years in advance, to prepare for future job applications. The discussion also focused on the importance of communication skills in these interactions. Radu and Jennifer shared their approaches to student interactions at career fairs, which include introducing themselves and their companies, understanding the students’ career aspirations, and sharing about their company culture. They also highlighted the importance of allowing students to express their passion and personality during these interactions.

Making a Positive Impression

David, Jennifer, and Radu discussed how students can make a positive impression and stand out during career fairs. Jennifer emphasized the importance of first impressions and how students can present themselves well. She also highlighted the value of work samples, particularly for writers. Radu, on the other hand, stressed the significance of curiosity and the ability to relate to someone in the company. He also suggested having a story pitch ready to go, which could make a lasting impression.Having a portfolio link on the resume is also a great strategy.

David, Jennifer, and Radu discussed the value of attending career fairs, especially for first- and second-year students. Jennifer emphasized the importance of initiating connections early, showing motivation and drive. Radu added that adapting to change is crucial in their industry, suggesting students keep abreast of company changes. The conversation also highlighted the significance of understanding company culture and growth opportunities. Jennifer and Radu underscored their appreciation for students with a strong desire to learn and grow. Lastly, David asked about post-fair follow-ups, with Jennifer suggesting students share their interests and Radu noting that companies often stay in touch with proactive students.

Professional Connections and Job Opportunities

Radu and Jennifer emphasized the importance of maintaining professional connections. They mentioned their companies use QR codes to collect students’ contact details for follow-up. They also recommended LinkedIn and email as additional ways to follow up. Jennifer and Radu stressed the importance of having a concise one-page resume for internship-level positions. They also highlighted the success stories of students who had interned with their team and were now full-time employees. They encouraged everyone to take advantage of the opportunities offered by UF. David thanked them for their insights and mentioned that their discussion would be recorded and shared with students.

Next steps

  • Research employers and decide whom to meet
  • Update and upload resume to Gator CareerLink
  • Prepare professional attire, and don’t forget about the Gator Career Closet if you need attire
  • Practice your professional introduction and be prepared to talk about the experiences on your resume.
  • Develop questions about the companies you plan to meet.
  • After the fair, check your email and voicemail for follow-ups and send thank you notes and apply for jobs or internships you learn about at the fair.
By David Adams
David Adams Assistant Director for Career Pathways – Business, Public Service, and Tourism