10 Ways to WIN the Career Fair

  1. GO! You can’t win if you aren’t there.
    • If you are a first year student, GO to check things out and identify companies to research.
    • If you are a sophomore, GO to see if you can get an early internship
    • If you are a junior, GO to nail that internship down and begin planning companies to research for jobs
    • If you are a senior, GO to get that job search going.  The typical search is a the equivalent of a 3 credit class that lasts 6-12 months.
  2. Ignore the tech/non-tech distinction. It’s an artificial line with huge grey areas. Tech companies hire liberal arts grads. Non-tech companies need tech and STEM employees. Go both days. NEVER assume a company is not interested in students like you.  Talk with as many as you can.
  3. Do a broad search on the companies visiting to identify potential employers to visit and make a list.  By a broad search, I mean use simple terms like “health”, “tourism”, “education”.  A big net will make sure you do not miss companies.  Is General Electric a health care company? Yes, it is: http://www3.gehealthcare.com/en/about_us/ge_healthcare_careers
  4. Research companies ahead of time.  Spend Fri-Sun looking at the websites of the companies on your list. Read their 5 most recent press releases. Look at their careers page. Come up with 3 good questions you can ask about their industry, future, job opportunities. Make a note card for each employer.
  5. Prepare your elevator speech.  Have a 1-2 minute intro that tells someone who you are, what you are studying, and what relevant experience you have (focused on your accomplishments). Finish with a solid question that shows you’ve looked into the company.
  6. Dress for success. Check out what you plan to wear with your friends.  Make sure it’s both professional and comfortable–you can’t succeed if you feel awful.  Wear it for a few hours over the weekend to make sure you can work it.
  7. Never assume the game is not on. True story–student is in BJC bathroom chatting on phone with a friend, bad mouthing an employer’s table they had visited. Said they had an interview, but were not really interested in the employer. Toilet flush. Stall door open. Out walks person wearing shirt with employer’s name on the breast pocket. Guess who had an interview cancelled.
  8. Be yourself.  Faking it never pays off in the long run.  Even if you get the job/internship you’re not the person they thought you were and you can’t maintain the false role forever.  Find the employers that fit who you are, rather than trying to fit into their mold.
  9. Take a break.  Schedule breaks during the day, so you don’t burn out. If there’s an employer you really are interested in, plan your visit when you’ll be refreshed and ready.
  10. Relax. You got this.

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