When approaching recruiters at a career fair, you only have about 5 minutes to convince them to contact you for a future interview. With that in mind, the more prepared you are, the better you will be able to sell yourself. Preparing a 30 second “commercial” about yourself can help break the ice and get the interaction started in the right direction.

For example

“Hello, my name is Jane, and I am a senior majoring in accounting. Last summer I did an internship in the accounting department of Office Depot. I am interested in broadening my experience, and I read that your company is embarking on a new market in Europe.”

Your introduction should include the following

  • Name, Class, and Major
  • Opportunities you are seeking
  • Relevant experience (work, internship, volunteer work)
  • Highlights of skills and strengths
  • Knowledge about the company

Tailor your “commercial” to each of the top companies you will approach. When deciding what information to include, consider what is demanded of the position and what skills or traits would allow someone to be successful in that position. Determine how you can fill such requirements (i.e. key skills, characteristics, experiences) and stress those points.

It's often advisable to close with some form of question to transfer the conversation to the recruiter. Still, there are questions recruiters say you should avoid...

  • What does the company do?
  • Asking if the company has any jobs.
  • When asked what type of position you are seeking, saying you would be willing to do anything at the company

Instead, conduct some research ahead of time to gather information about the company. Use this research time to find something about the employer that interests or relates to you (i.e. international customer base, industry relevance, projects, etc ... ), and use that as a base for your questions. For companies you visit that you did not research extensively, follow your introduction with a question such as, ''Could you tell me how someone with my background and could fit into your company?”

Practice

Hello, my name is ______, and I am a (year in program/ alumnus of UNC Charlotte) (majoring in/ with a degree in)  ______. Recently, I have been (working/ interning/ volunteering) with ______ in the _____ department to gain experience in ______. My strongest interests lie in (teaching/ management/CIS) ______, so I'm looking for a (summer/currently looking/post graduation) position in ________. I'm particularly interested in (company name) because of ________ and find your companies (enter research findings - new market openings, business strategies, community involvement, etc .. .) particularly interesting. Could you tell me about how this will affect employees in (position of interest)? - or other relevant question.

Once you have prepared your commercial, you need to practice it until you become comfortable enough that you can sell you can exude confidence in its delivery--the recruiter will find you more convincing. Be careful not to cross the line from professional confidence into arrogance or cockiness, as you don't want to push anyone away. Remember to include the basics... maintain good eye contact, good posture, and positive body language, and you should b e on the road to success.

Login to Hire-A-Niner and click “Meet With Your Career Advisor” to schedule an appointment to practice your elevator pitch with your career advisor.

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