I have no interviews before the conference, and ended up with 2 interviews.
a. Do your research about the company information. It’s a huge place where you can easily get lost, so have a list of target companies, the booth information, and also general notes about their company. (Python web scraping)
I personally collected information about our school alumni who will attend the conference and selected the companies from the long list. (SQL text match)
It actually worked, on the first day (01/10) I picked up my badge late. By the time I got into the career fair, it’s near close. I went directly to one company which I recognized as our alumni, and luckily got and interview from them.
b. Customize your resume and name card:
I didn’t like the layout of my previous resume, which is the standard type provided by our career management center, so I designed one by myself by the WEBSITE.
Your resume should have clear sections, and highlight your skills. Remember it’s a technical conference, so list your skills like what programming languages you are proficient at. The recruiters there may have little knowledge in programming, but they are familiar with the languages. A highlight of technical skills in your resume will help them find the jobs that you seem like a great fit faster.
Taking 30 copies is enough. Some companies collect your resumes while others will collect your resume by taking pictures. Bring your resumes at hand and give it to the recruiters once you finish your elevator pitch.
c. Do extra work to stand out.
Everyone is talking with their resume, it’s boring and unconvincing. I prepared a PPT about a recent project I have done. Once I finished my elevator pitch, if I could tell she/he was still interested, I would ask “I would love to share some of my skills to you if you are interested.” (They can’t say no) and presented it to the recruiters.
I got 2 interviews on the second day (02/10) by extra step. Remember the interview slots are limited and nearly full before the conference even begin, you have to separate yourself from the others.
So take your experience with you, prepare your demos and make sure they are easy to understand.
Be active and passionate
a. Warm handshake with eye contact, smile all the time when you are talking. They will love young beautiful women who smile.
b. Reach out. It’s a great conference with so many talented people. It’s impressive just listening to them. Ask about their experience, connect with them, and collect information about the company culture and hiring process.
I met people from MS, IBM, DISCOVER,IKEA, UNDER ARMOUR, 3M, all of them are nice and willing to share their experience and career paths with me.