career fair

How to Survive Your First Career Fair

Most of us are attending school in order to better ourselves in the face of the daunting “real world.” We put in hard hours at the library, bust our butts beefing up our resumes, and try our best to broaden our skill sets in the hopes of one day landing our dream job. Of course, as you progress in your days at school you’ll inevitably run into a particularly daunting event: the career fair. Here, both you and hundreds of other students try to impress businesses in the hopes of getting a job. If you’ve never been to a career fair, here are some useful tips:

career fair

1. Dress to Impress

At a career fair, you have the chance to meet employers and recruiters face to face. Therefore, it’s important to dress the part. Most women tend to wear dress pants or a skirt, a blouse, and nice shoes. Men often wear a suit or a dress shirt and tie. However, this doesn’t mean you have to be boring- wear what you feel good in. Additionally, make sure to properly groom yourself. You want to stand out, but I can guarantee that bad breath and dirty hair is not the way to do it.

career fair

2. Prepare an Elevator Pitch

Again, career fairs are your chance to personally meet with potential employers. This being said, you should have an idea of what to say about yourself. Before you go, look over your resume, accomplishments, and aspirations to come up with a quick few lines to tell recruiters. Introductions are much easier with prepared lines and employers will appreciate a candidate who is both prepared and knows what they’re good at.

career fair

3. Ready Your Resume

When attending a career fair, be sure to print out plenty of resumes. Although some might recommend printing your resume on premium paper, doing so can be expensive and difficult. Further, employers might not pay attention to the type of paper that you use because most resumes are submitted online. Regardless, review your resume to ensure it is grammatically correct and well formatted. Contact your school’s career advisor or check out some tips online!

career fair

4. Do Your Research

Many career fairs host hundreds of companies, making you likely to find at least one that suits you. However, it’s difficult to understand a company from looking at the sign on their table. Avoid this confusion by doing your research. Look up the listed companies attending the career fair and find out what they’re looking for. Employers notice when you’re educated about their company.

5. Confidence is Key

The final tip that I can give you is to be confident!  Following the above steps will prepare you for surviving a career fair. You’ll show employers you’re the most unique, qualified person in the room. Acting confident more strongly conveys this message and helps leave memorable impression. Together, someone will likely think of you when it’s time to hire a new employee.

Career fairs don’t have to be stressful. Come prepared, do your research, dress the part, and be confident. Everything is going to be okay!

How to Score an Internship

College students are hard pressed for time; that’s why it’s so difficult to prepare for events a few months in advance. Although school keeps you busy, just remember that the main reason you’re attending college is to get a better job after graduation. Besides good grades and extra-curriculars, a part-time internship is one of the best ways to make yourself stand out from the rest of the applicant pool. Internships allow students to get a taste of what it’s like to live in an office and understand the ins and outs of the workplace. Although a lot of degrees require an internship, it’s never too early to head start (that’s right, I’m speaking to you Freshmen). Having more than one internship under your belt makes you look all the sweeter!

You can always go to your university career center for advice on places to intern. However, if you are anything like me, you have no idea where the career center is, and don’t have the time to schedule an appointment to talk about your interests with a random adviser you’ve never met. There are many different ways to find an appealing internship, even if you don’t know what career you want to delve into. Here are a few tips and ways to find internships between eating ramen and cramming the night before a test:

Make a Flawless Resume and Cover Letter. In order for employers to take you seriously, your resume must be written to perfection. If any grammatical errors exist, you will more than likely not even be considered. Don’t freak out though (it’s only your future career at stake), just take some quality time on it, and have others (that you trust) make suggestions/corrections to create the best resume you can. Consider the same steps for your cover letter, making sure you are showing this possible employer you can fulfill their needs.

Networking. This is one of the most important things you can do while in college. Knowing someone in a company you’re interested in can easily get you a foot in the door. Network through previous employers, teachers, friends, and even other family members. If face-to-face doesn’t suit your style, there’s a little thing called social networking. Use LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and/or Google+ and talk to people about what position you’re looking for. There is bound to be someone along the way who can send you in the right direction.

Attend Job Fairs. Employers know that there are students looking for jobs, especially those who are Juniors and Seniors. Make sure you stand out at these–no, that doesn’t mean you should wear a plaid suit–by showing employers your interest. Be confident and do your research on the companies that intrigue you. Asking the right questions about a company will make representatives remember you, rather than just being a name in a stack of papers.

Look at Multiple Job Site Search Engines. There are plenty of websites out there such as CareerBuilder.com, Monster.com, LinkedIn.com, SimplyHired.com, Craigslist.com, etc. These will give you an idea if any particular employers are looking to hire, what kind of job postings there are, and what jobs are available in your area. These are great resources for finding opportunities you may have never considered.

Happy Hunting!

 

Willhelm

I’m reading Campbell Biology