Tips for navigating the STEM Fair as an introvert

Successfully navigating the STEM Fair can be intimidating for any student, but it’s especially true if you have a more introverted personality. To help introverts feel more prepared to stand out at next week’s STEM Fair, BYU Career Services put together a free workshop on what to do before, during and after the fair.

Colton Griffiths, associate director of career advancement at BYU Career Services, pointed out that the principles for preparing for a career fair are the same regardless of personality type, but some introverts simply need extra time to prepare. Below are some of Griffiths’ best tips to help introverts to put their best foot forward at the STEM Fair.

Before the Fair

  • Practice, practice, practice!

As simple as it may sound, practice is the most effective way to make sure you’ll get all your thoughts out and not jumble your words. So, stand in front of your mirror and practice introducing yourself! Then grab your roommate or your spouse and do it again. Call your mom. Ask to practice with a friend. Don’t be afraid to practice as many times as you need until you feel comfortable making that initial introduction.

  • Come up with an elevator pitch

Griffiths came up with an easy four-step process to creating a memorable elevator pitch:

  1. Start with the present. Introduce yourself using your full name and tell the recruiter relevant details like what you’re studying and how much longer you have in school.
  2. Talk about the past. Give a couple of brief examples of places you’ve interned or worked (or specific projects you’ve done that would be particularly impressive).
  3. Focus on the future. Explain to the recruiter what areas of the industry you’re interested in working in or where you envision your future career pathing taking you.
  4. Ask an open-ended question. It’s always more effective to have a specific question in mind but if you can’t think of anything, the question can be as simple as “What opportunities do you have at your company for a student like me?” Then, let the recruiter do the talking. 
  • Do your research

Get to know the companies coming to the STEM Fair with resources like BYU Bridge and the BYU Career Fair Plus app (available on iOS and Android).

During the Fair

  • Set goals

Come up with a game plan for how to navigate the fair. Set goals for how many recruiters you will talk to, how many resumes you’ll hand out and hold yourself accountable!

  • What to bring
    • Lots of resumes (15-20)
    • Personally branded business cards
    • An example of your work/skills
    • NO BACKPACKS
  • What to wear

The dress code for a career fair is always business professional. When in doubt, ask yourself, “Would I wear this to a job interview?”

  • Use the buddy system

If the thought of going to the career fair alone makes you nervous, ask a friend to go with you. A buddy will also help motivate you to follow through with the goals you set. However, it’s also more than OK to take a break if you need one. Pace yourself!

After the Fair

  • Don’t be afraid to follow up

According to Griffiths, less than two percent of career fair attendees follow up with the recruiters they meet. If you get a recruiter’s business card, send them a thank you email. If not, look up the recruiter on Linkedin and send him or her a personalized invitation with a reminder about how you met at the career fair. 

Most of all, be confident! Employers are coming to BYU because they want to hire you. So don’t be afraid to stand out and go for the career you’ve always wanted.

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