How to Make the Most of a Nursing Career Fair
Cindy Mehallow | Monster Contributing Writer
• Get Your Outfit Ready: You don’t need to wear a business suit, but whatever you wear must be clean, professional and pressed. Women can wear slacks and a blouse topped with a sweater or jacket. Men should wear dress pants, dress shirt and a tie.
“Clothes need to be conservative, particularly in nursing,” says Andrea Krzysko, a teaching associate with the Urbana regional site of the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Nursing. “We do not want to see skin.”
At the Job Fair
• Focus on Your Target Employers: “Go to someone in the middle of your list [first] to get the jitters out,” Krzysko suggests. Then proceed to your top choices. Approach each recruiter confidently, and make eye contact. Greet them with your rehearsed introduction, and continue the conversation with your prepared questions and comments.
Don’t waste time grabbing job fair giveaways. “You’re there for the $40,000-a-year job, not the 29-cent pen,” Krzysko says.
• Ask About Student Positions: Undergrads can learn about externships, internships, and nursing assistant and patient attendant positions, which can provide extra experience beyond clinical rotations for students seeking to enter higher-acuity units, such as telemetry or intensive care.
“We recommend that sophomores and juniors attend job fairs and begin the networking process,” VanderPloeg says. “It’s like informational interviewing. You’re getting direct information rather than from the Web site.” Plus, students can start targeting potential employers.
• Ask About the Next Step: Find out whether you need to fill out an online application, call to schedule an interview or wait to hear from the recruiter. “Take notes right in front of the recruiter,” Krzysko says. “Get the name and contact information of the follow-up people. You won’t remember after the fair.”