Conferences are a great place to meet new people and network. The career fairs at conferences can also be lifesaving, especially if you are not from a target school. You get a chance to interact with company recruiters directly and showcase your skills, which is way better than simply submitting your resume to the online blackhole portal.
However, with hundreds (or thousands) of other candidates trying to get the same job as you do, how do you “sell” yourself and stand out?
- The elevator pitch — The first thing you need to do is learn how to sell yourself. It is like trying to find funding for your startup; why should the company you want to join invest in you? You need to prove that you will be an asset to them, but many times you merely have a minute or two before the next candidate has to pitch.
So, come prepared with a short and concise speech that is roughly about 1 minute long. Try to talk about your skills, your passions, and what you bring to the table. Sometimes, the company you are talking to is your dream company, and you know exactly what role you want. If that’s the case, make sure your elevator pitch is curated explicitly according to the requirements of that role.
2. Confidence — It is okay if you are nervous about talking to people, you need to keep in mind that they understand what you are going through, and will not judge you negatively if you fumble once or twice. Remember, recruiters and hiring managers are human too, so try to engage with them.
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3. Be yourself! — Originality is key! There is no need to force anything, and many times people can spot when you are not authentic(i.e., Being fake). If you are at the conference, then you deserve to be there, come prepared, talk about your experiences, and give it all you have. An important note is, there’s a difference between downplaying yourself or skills, in the name of not wanting to do too much. Be proud of your experiences/projects, and tell the story to the best of your ability showcasing all your skills. Remember, you are trying to get the company to invest in YOU.