Interviews can be
intimidating, and the only time you get to exercise your skills is when you’re
sitting across the table from the hiring manager. Career fairs, however, can
offer an opportunity to interview for jobs and practice your networking and
interview skills in a low-pressure environment. The Career Fair at ASHA
Convention gives you the chance to get your resume reviewed, strengthen
your interview skills, build confidence, and receive valuable feedback from
career coaches and Resume
If you are a job seeker or
just curious, it is essential to have a
strategy to get the most out of the career fair experience. Meeting with an
employer should be an open dialogue that allows you to learn more about the
recruiter, organization, and the position while they learn the impact that you
could have in their organization.
Pack your resume—here are
some strategies to help you practice your networking and interview
skills at a career fair:
Don’t limit yourself to just a
few organizations; instead, look at it like speed dating.
Visit your favorites, then a few that are in the same work setting, and finally,
some that are in your desired or dream location. Spending some time with different organizations allows
you to compare and contrast what you do or don’t like about them. This also allows you to get feedback on
how well you interview, helping to get rid of the jitters when you interview for your dream job.
Break the ice with your elevator pitch.
Your elevator pitch is your way of telling your story on the fly. It
should be 30 to 60 seconds and should highlight your skills and goals. It
should be tailored to your audience and should solve a challenge for them. Make
sure to be persuasive and leave the listener wanting to know more. Try to
include the following:
Who are you?
What is your passion?
What is your purpose, and what skills/traits help you
What is your something “extra”?
Hi, my name is Samantha Speech,
and I am a school-based SLP with 5 years in practice. I am passionate about
helping children reach their academic goals and obtain college readiness. My
passion stems from watching my brother struggle and become discouraged about
his academic potential in school. Thus, it is my mission to help middle and
high school–aged children reach their full potential through team-based
collaboration with their parents and teachers. Can you tell me how someone with
my experience may fit into your organization?
Get to know your interviewer.
It is important to be conversational and express
interest in who you are meeting. Try asking:
you begin your career?
How did you become interested in this field?
What do you like most about your work/organization?
Learn more about their organization and what work CSD professionals do there.
How would you describe the company culture?
What are the primary
responsibilities of an audiologist or SLP in your organization? What is a
typical day (or week) like?
audiologists or SLPs work for your organization? How many externs or clinical
fellows are there?
- What benefits does your organization
offer? What training or education programs, if any, does the company
If you are interested in a job with the organization, ask about the
advice would you give someone who is considering this type of job?
What skills do you look for most in a
How long is the application and interview process, and what does it consist
Ask the hard questions.
At the end of most
interviews, there is time for questions. However, most applicants don’t use
this time to their full advantage. Try out some of the burning questions you need
answers to, or use the opportunity to learn more about the employer.
- How long is the average
tenure of an employee?
- Am I going to be a mentor?
- Will I be mentored?
- What skills and personal
attributes are essential to success in your organization?
- What kinds of
accomplishments tend to be valued and rewarded in your organization? What
are those rewards?
Always end with a way to follow up.
Even if you are not wild about the
employer or the recruiter, it is always important to leave the conversation on
a high note. Always ask, “May I contact you with further questions? Do you have a business card?” Although you may not
want a job with that organization, the recruiter can be a great contact and reference
whom you can ask questions.