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Want to Attract Qualified College Graduates at Job Fairs? Use These 7 Giveaway Ideas!

Now that the school year is over and summer is in full swing, recent college graduates are entering the “real world” that they have been preparing for for the past 16+ years. They are eager and waiting to put their hard-earned degrees to work, but the job market is more competitive than ever before. There are a lot of talented people searching for jobs, and you want to make sure that the best candidates are coming to you.

One of the best ways to recruit the freshest talent is by attending college graduate job fairs. But you don’t want your company to be just another booth in a crowded auditorium – you have to stand out. How can you do that? You guessed it – promotional products!

College graduates won’t be turning away any free stuff for a long time – they need to save every dollar they have to pay off those overwhelming student loans. But some promotional products are more effective than others.

These 7 giveaways will be highly valued by college grads, and get your name remembered by the most qualified candidates:

Silhouette Satin Grip Pen

Silhouette Satin Grip Pen

Pens with your logo: Job seekers are going to be filling out applications left and right. They’re going to need a pen that they can rely on – whether they are filling out applications or signing up for interviews and e-mail lists at job fairs. Something like the Silhouette Satin Grip Pen (pictured to the left) is a classy option that has the professional look that college grads are hoping to establish.

Omega Travel Mug

Omega Travel Mug

Travel mugs: Now that college graduates are looking to become a part of the 9-5 workforce, they’re going to need to make their morning coffee portable for their commute. They can be professional, but stay young with something like the brightly colored Omega Mug with Slider Lid.

Fruit-of-the-Loom Cotton T-shirt

Fruit-of-the-Loom Cotton T-shirt

Personalized t-shirts: Recent college grads are strapped for cash. They probably just moved into their first apartment, they are paying their own bills for the first time, and not to mention the fact that 2011 graduates graduated with a record amount of debt.  Needless to say, these kids won’t be turning down free T-shirts any time soon.

Custom Chocolate Bars

Custom Chocolate Bars

Snacks or candy: I can’t think of one college grad that would turn down free food. Can you? They’ll take anything to get a break from Ramen noodles and Easy Mac, but something like the Eros Custom Chocolate Bar also leaves you with a pretty big area for your company logo, slogan, and contact information.

Executive Padfolio

Executive Padfolio

Portfolios: These candidates will be more likely to remember your company if you give them something to simplify their job fair experience. Something professional like the Jr. Executive L-Curve Padfolio will help them keep all of their resumes in order, provide a space to jot down notes, and give them a convenient place to store all of the business cards they’ll be receiving.

3-in-1 Floss, Mirror, and Business Card Holder

3-in-1 Floss, Mirror, and Business Card Holder

3-in-1 floss, mirror, and business card: While entering the professional job market, college graduates need to make a good first impression – and they can’t very well do that with food in their teeth! Our Credit Card Style Dental Floss With Mirror will be their go-to tool for any job fair or interview they attend. You can replace boring, lose-able business cards with this useful giveaway.

Custom Bobble Heads

Custom Bobble Heads

Custom bobbleheads: Obviously, I’ve saved the best for last. If you really want to stand out, you have to have the most creative giveaway item, and it doesn’t get more unique than a bobblehead of your company mascot. This fun giveaway will lighten the mood and make candidates less intimidated by your company – plus they’ll have something to decorate their new apartments!

By the way, if you live in Illinois you can put your promotional products to use at any of these upcoming job fairs in the Chicago area:

  • Sales Career Fair – Chicago West: July 27, 2011 at 1 p.m., at Double Tree Hotel – Oakbrook.
  • Nationwide Job Fair: August 18, 2011 at 11 a.m. – 2 p.m., in Chicago.
  • NAACP Professional Career Reception: September 27, 2011 at 10 a.m. – 3 p.m., at Navy Pier.
  • 2011 Chicago Graduate and Professional School Fair: October 6, 2011 at 3-7 p.m., at UIC.

What do you think? Have you given or received memorable promotional products at a career fair? Which of these items would catch your attention the most? Did I leave anything out of this list?



Jenna Markowski

Jenna has a much easier time writing about the media and pop culture than she does writing about herself. She enjoys the simple things in life, like puns and typography. She is an avid fan of pop-punk, Halo 3, Spider-Man and origami, with a slight Taco Bell obsession. Her spirit animal is either a bulldog or a panda bear. You can also connect with Jenna on Google+ and Twitter.

Comments

  1. amy

    These are some great giveaways Jenna, if I visited a job fair that had these I’d be an extremely happy camper :)

    The best promotional giveaway I received was a box of mints with the company’s name and logo on the front and on the back it had tips (smile, make eye contact, shake their hand firmly, don’t swear, etc.). It was small and compact and made a huge impression on me. Something like our Oval Mints http://www.qualitylogoproducts.com/tradeshow-promotions/0val-mints.htm
    would do quite nicely.

    Great post and excellent tips!

    • Jenna

      Thanks, Amy! I would be, too!

      That sounds like a really awesome giveaway! Pretty creative, which is exactly what companies have to do to impress potential job applicants. :)

    • Amanda

      That pack of mints sounds genius! =) What a neat idea that company had.

  2. Jill Tooley

    Dude, you don’t even know how many pens I still have from job fairs I’ve attended in the past! They came in handy during the fair because I rarely carry writing utensils with me in my purse.

    You’ve made some good points about college students and what they’ll snatch up in two seconds flat – like the chocolate bars. Just think of the madness that would ensue at NCC if someone was giving away free chocolate! It would be a madhouse. :)

    The most memorable job fair promo item I ever received – believe it or not – was a water bottle lanyard. It made my drink easier to carry (I didn’t wear it around my neck, just carried it around my wrist) and it got plenty of use after the job fair ended.

    • Jenna

      Definitely! Pens are probably the most popular item — and rightfully so. I actually got the idea for the chocolate because I remembered NCC giving me a chocolate bar when I visited once! It was an awesome gift, and different from the lanyards, cinch backpacks, and pens that I was receiving everywhere else.

      That is another interesting promo item! I’ve never actually seen one of those before, so I know I would have been impressed! :)

      • Lgroce

        I got the exact same chocolate bar on my visit to the school too. However, I didn’t pay a whole lot of attention to the logo, I was too interested in scarfing down that chocolate bar as soon as possible.
        One thing that is probably a higher-end product that I got from NCC is a flash drive at graduation practice. This product is probably to expensive to give away at a job fair, but it is something that everyone can get use out of. I think that is the important thing in my mind, make the product you give away useful so that whoever gets it sees your logo again and again.

        • Jenna

          Haha, that’s true about the chocolate — and ultimately the wrapper gets thrown in the garbage anyways, but I still think it’s a memorable giveaway.
          The flash drive seems like an awesome gift! (Especially coming from NCC. I guess I better stick it out ’til graduation next year… :D)

      • Amanda

        Pens are always my favorite freebie! I love them because they’re practical and easy to carry.

        The chocolate bars are a unique idea too–nice picks Jenna! =)

        • Jenna

          Definitely! You can never have too many promo pens!

          Thanks, Amanda! :)

  3. Jana Quinn

    Nice selection, Jenna. Although I’d probably invest in the popular ones you’ve listed above, I’d also set aside money in things like sewing kits, pizza cutters, and flashlights. They’re less frequently distributed which lowers the chances of your product being tossed for one that’s a different color or shape from a competitor.

    • Jenna

      Thanks, Jana. Those are definitely great ideas, too! I hadn’t even thought of a pizza cutter — college students and graduates can’t get enough frozen pizza! Getting creative with promo products is definitely the best way to get remembered.

  4. Joseph Giorgi

    I love, love, love my padfolio! I never knew what I was missing until I owned one. It’s classy, it’s practical, and it keeps me organized. It pretty much changed my life the day I got it! I’d easily recommend a padfolio as a giveaway item any day of the week.

    These are fantastic promo items, Jenna. Great list! My favorite is obvious, but the custom candy and bobbleheads are standouts as well. Students and graduates would snatch those up in a heartbeat! Good point about the t-shirts too — clothes aren’t cheap these days, and personally, I’ll take all the free apparel I can get. :)

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