May 10 is BC’s Annual Networking Fair. Do You Know How To Prepare for It?

bellevue college campus
Sean Wu // The Watchdog

The Center for Career Connection’s annual networking fair is happening on May 10 from 11:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. in U301AB. Students, alumni and community members can attend this free event to learn about companies hiring for a variety of internships, as well as part-time, full-time and seasonal jobs. Attendees should pre-register for the fair. 

Over 50 companies will be attending, including the following:

  • Amazon 
  • Bellevue College 
  • City of Bellevue
  • Costco
  • Hyatt Regency
  • Eton School
  • 91.3 KBCS 
  • Overlake Medical Center & Clinics
  • REI 
  • City of Seattle
  • Tacoma Police
  • University of Washington 
  • Walgreens 

At a career fair, you can expect each company to have employers at their own table who are interested in talking to students and alumni who want to learn more about a specific company or role. Typically, you’ll spend two to three minutes talking with an employer and sharing your resume. If a position at the company interests you, they’ll usually direct you to an email or online application for the job. Sometimes they’ll just take your resume and you’ll be considered for the position. 

Prior to the fair, you should prepare resumes and print multiple copies of them. Having multiple different resumes can be beneficial, as different jobs will look for different skills. The Center for Career Connections has multiple resume and career resources. Handshake, a job-site platform available to BC students and alumni, also offers a variety of resume resources. Creating a resume that highlights you and your skills can help you to stand out to employers.

Elevator pitches are a recruiter’s first impression of you. They are essentially a one- to two- minute spiel about you, your experiences and what you’re looking for at the company. It is important to practice your elevator pitch ahead of time so you don’t miss any crucial points. The four steps to an elevator pitch are:

  1. Introduce yourself
  2. Provide a summary of what you do 
  3. Explain what you want 
  4. Propose a call to action 

You should introduce yourself to them and give some background on the job you currently hold or previously held. If you’re a student, mention what you’re majoring in and when you expect to graduate. Next, explain what you’re looking for out of the conversation, which could be consideration for a job or internship, or to get contact information. You can explain the value you’d bring to the position or what you have to offer. Finally, end the pitch by asking for or stating what you’d like to happen next, which could be a meeting, expressing interest in applying for a job or receiving more information. 

You should also research the prospective companies you’re interested in. A recruiter will expect you to have a basic knowledge of their company and what they do when you approach them. You should also make a list of questions to ask. Some examples include the following:

  • What are the day-to-day responsibilities of this job?
  • What do you like best about working at this company?
  • What growth opportunities are available at this company?
  • How is performance measured for this position?

On the day of the fair, make a plan of action. Figure out which companies you want to speak to first. You may want to practice on a lower-priority company before speaking to a higher-priority one, or go to a higher-priority one before it’s busy. You should wear appropriate business attire to make a good first impression. The most important thing is to have reasonable expectations and be your best self. You may get an in-depth interview, a short interview or a contact to hear from later on. Some companies will do on-the-spot hiring, but not all do, so don’t expect a job offer the same day.