My Date With Howard

Melinda Adams
I can’t tell you how excited I get when an opportunity comes along to represent my agency at college career fairs. 

There is something contagious about the energy at these events.  It reminds me of my senior year of college, a young girl full of excitement, confusion, and determination.  As a new graduate, I was full of questions and after meeting hundreds of students, that recent grad tendency hasn’t changed nor should it. 

Recently, my colleague Andrea Maurey and I attended the Council of PR Firms career fair at Howard University.  Ketchum has attended this event for the past few years and we are always impressed with the wonderful candidates we meet. You can’t walk on Howard University’s campus without seeing the rich history this campus has offered its students.  The past student body of this honorable institution were courageous, determined individuals who have shaped and motivated generations of students after them.  It’s inspiring to see students working hard to make their professional dreams a reality. Of course, hard working students are always looking to up their game and stand out of the crowd.  So, below are a few helpful tips.

 1.     Eye contact – Never underestimate the power of eye contact. Some people look away when they get nervous. Proper eye contact can convey that you are focused, engaged and prepared.

2.     Handshake – Always give a firm handshake.  A weak handshake comes across as unmotivated and self-conscious.  A firm handshake states that you’re determined, focused, and confident.

 3.     Dress to impress – Always dress sharp with a suit.  You can’t go wrong with a nice suit.  For women, I recommend adding a splash of color to stand out verses 5 inch heels, low cut tops and short skirts. Keep your audience in mind when deciding what to wear.  For men, a sharp clean suit with a colorful ‘professional’ tie will help you stand out.

 4.     Practice Makes Perfect – The night before a career fair practice what you will say when you are asked about yourself. Prepare a short one minute description about yourself and practice saying it.  This will not only prepare you for standard interview questions, but help calm last minute nerves.

5.     Come Prepared – Make sure to get a list of all the companies attending the career fair and do your homework on the companies within you wish to speak.  It’s important to research these companies, so you’ll have a better idea on why this company would be a perfect fit for you and why recruiters should pay attention.  

Since confidence is the most important thing to convey at career fairs, I believe these Five Things will help achieve that goal.  Remember recruiters are professional readers of people and confidence can’t be hidden.  If you have confidence in yourself and your abilities, recruiters will see that and take note.  After all, recruiters will always push to hire the candidates who they are confident can do the best job.  

Melinda Adams is Human Resources Administrator in Ketchum’s Washington, D.C. office.  She is a 2002 graduate of  Liberty University in Lynchburg, VA where she majored in communications.

2 thoughts on “My Date With Howard

  1. Thank you for sharing, Melinda! You were extremely helpful and easy to talk to at the PRSSA National Conference this year. I know many students greatly appreciated your honesty. You were quoted on multiple occasions during our chapter’s resume critique workshop. Thanks again!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *