Four ways to "wow" employers at the Kelley Career Fair

By: 

Are you looking for a job? An internship? Go ahead and mark February 9th on your calendar. The Kelley Career Fair will feature up to 80 central Indiana businesses, spanning across a wide range of industries, and they want to hire Kelleys.

Josh Killey, director of Kelley Indianapolis Career Services, knows from experience how students who attend career fairs get a head start on their colleagues.

Career fairs are the most important tool that students can use when seeking an internship or full-time position. It’s an opportunity to meet face-to-face with key representatives of companies that are targeting Kelley students and alumni.

Josh Killey, director of Kelley Indianapolis Career Services

If you want to make a meaningful, lasting impression at the Kelley Career Fair, keep reading. After talking with the Kelley Indianapolis Career Services Office and employers, we’ve identified four ways you can “wow” an employer, and get that position you want.

Let’s get started.

  • Dress in business professional attire

Your attire should exhibit your credibility, confidence and professionalism. Don’t show up in shorts. Really, please don’t do that. You might be thinking, “Isn’t that obvious?” You would think so, but we’ve seen students wearing shorts and sporting messy hair. What kind of impression do you think that leaves an employer with? First impressions set the tone, so make yours a positive one.

Men: Business professional attire is a full suit with matching jacket and pants. A collared shirt should be complemented with a tie and dress shoes. One note about the tie, don’t wear your Christmas tie decorated with Santa Claus and cookies. Save that for your family’s Christmas dinner.

You can wear a three-piece suit, if you’d like. If you don’t own a good suit, or if you’re running low on cash, there are dozens of resale stores across Indianapolis where you’re sure to find something that will fit.

Women: Business professional is a suit in a neutral color with either long pants or skirt that goes below the knees. You can accessorize, but keep it simple and not too overwhelming. Wear scuff-free heels (less than 3 inches high) or flats in a neutral color.

Ladies, if you’d like to switch it up a bit, wear a black blazer with a charcoal or burgundy pant or skirt. Most importantly, be comfortable in what you’re wearing. If you’re not comfortable—it will show.

  • Research the companies attending

When meeting with an employer for the first time, you should appear to know just as much about the company as the employer does. Trust us, if you’ve done your research and are educated about the company’s mission and what they do, you’re going to “wow” the employer.

You can view the employers who will attend the February 9th career fair on the Kelley Indianapolis Career Services website.

There are a few simple tricks to researching a company. Most effective is reading its “About Us” section. On this page, companies typically share how they are different from the competition, and they’ll display their core values. Knowing what makes a company stand out, and providing examples of how you can contribute, will impress and assure them you’ve done your research. It’s also important to know how long they’ve been in business.

Ashley Murphy is the director of human resources at Spot, one of Indiana’s fastest growing companies. She recommends finding the company’s social media pages and taking notes on their recent posts.

Evaluate sources such as LinkedIn, Glassdoor, online news articles and a company’s social media outlets for additional insight into the workplace and company culture.

Ashley Murphy, director of human resources at Spot
  • Develop a 30-second commercial about yourself

The 30-second commercial is your brief pitch to the employer. Why 30 seconds? Well, if it’s short and sweet, then it will be concise and clean. The 30-second commercial is essentially a synopsis of your experience, education, skills, strengths and accomplishments.

Here’s the outline you can follow when crafting your commercial:
1. Who you are
2. What you are studying
3. Give a specific objective (what you want to accomplish and why)
4. Why you are qualified
5. Ask a specific question about the organization

When you ask the question about an organization, make sure it’s an open-ended question—that provides further discussion, rather than receiving a “yes” or “no” answer. Employers tend to love ambitious students, so after your discussion with the employer, say something like, “May I have your business card and contact you?” If you do this, you’re informing the employer you’re serious about the position.

  • Have your résumé reviewed by Kelley Indianapolis Career Services

An average résumé will get you a conversation, or even a meeting with an employer, but a great résumé will get you an interview and possibly a job. While it’s at the bottom of this article, it’s certainly one of the most important action items for you to address. And the best part? It’s easy to do because the Kelley Indianapolis Career Services staff are experts at crafting powerful résumés. Whether you need to update your skills, or just beef it up, a good résumé review will give you confidence when it comes time to meet recruiters at the career fair. Be sure to contact the career services office, or you can visit during walk-in hours on Wednesday and Thursday from 1 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Now, apply these tips and go take that big step towards your future!