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    Our Career Fair is happening this Friday. Online registration is now closed, but if you have not registered, don’t worry. You can still come to the fair and register on-site. As long as you are a Georgetown student or alumnus, of course.

    You know that there’s a career fair happening. What should you do to get ready for it? I am going to give you my best piece of advice. Don’t approach an employer and ask, “What do you do?” I have spoken with employers over the years at our career fairs about what impresses them when they meet students in this kind of wholesale setting. Again and again, employers tell me that the behavior that leaves them with the most negative impression is a student asking the employer what their organization does.

    When you speak with an employer, you need to be conversant in the work their organization does.

    How do you do that when there are 101 employers at one event?

    At the very least, you should look at the list of employers who are coming to the fair before you go. See which companies are coming and which you are interested in. This is also a good way to avoid wasting time at the fair, wandering around to see who’s there. The list also includes information about what types of hires the employer is looking for and you’ll get a brief description of what the organization does.

    If you have time, I recommend you go beyond our list of employers. Visit the organizations’ Web sites to see what you can learn about them.

    A fantastic place to learn about a company is on LinkedIn. LinkedIn allows you to search by company. Once you are on the company’s page, you can learn a lot very quickly. You can see an overview of the company. You can see if anyone in your network works at the company. You can see if the company has been mentioned in the news. You can use the “insightful statistics” link to get useful information such as the company’s job function composition, the educational degrees of their employees, and links to similar organizations.

    It is entirely possible that you will not have the time to research all those companies you are interested in. Or you may see an employer at the fair and realize for the first time that you are interested in speaking with them, but you don’t know much about them. No problem.

    The fair runs from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Take a break, leave the ballroom, and do some quick research online. Use your smart phone or, if you need to, walk down the hall to Sellinger Lounge or the Career Education Center to use a public computer and look them up. Then, once you are familiar with the organization, head back to the fair and talk to the employer.

    Give yourself a chance to make a good first impression with employers. Don’t ask them what they do. If you want more on preparing for the career fair, we have posts from last year that are full of great advice.

    Hope to see you there!

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