A common worry of college students is finding a job after graduation or finding an internship during super long summer break. Career fairs connect college students and companies; however, it’s definitely not an easy thing. During my sophomore year, I attended the Engineering Career Fair for the first time. I still remember that my resume was almost like a blank page and I didn’t know what I should talk about when facing employers. Now, as a senior student, I have gained more experience and I am going to share with you some tips on attending career fairs. Feel free to comment and share your own thoughts with me too!
|I have only had experience with the Engineering Career Fair, which might be different from other career fairs on campus.|
Before the career fair
1. Make sure your resume stands out
A resume is a snapshot of your entire professional life. In order to leave a good impression on hiring managers, your resume should show that you are the best fit for the position. If you need advice on how to write your resume, you can find a lot of useful resources at the career center.
2. Do your own research
Before the career fair starts, the Engineering Career Resource Center (ECRC) usually gives out a booklet on the visiting companies and their hiring policies. It’s a good idea to study who is going to be at the fair before attending. For international students, it’s extremely important to check the hiring policies beforehand. Make sure that the companies you’re interested in are eligible to sponsor work visas for international students.
3. Get a suit and a pair of comfortable shoes
Nothing makes a recruiter groan more than being approached by a sloppy dresser. Appearance is part of the first impression you give to people, and it reflects your earnest to get the job. A suit will make you look more professional and confident. A pair of comfortable shoes is also very important, since you will most likely walk around for two whole days during the career fair.
4. Rest well
The most important thing to do on the day before the career fair is to get enough sleep. Make sure you have enough energy to be your best self.
During the career fair
1. Rock your communication with employers
Now it’s the time to fight. Always make confident, positive eye contact and smile. First, start with a one-minute introduction of yourself that you have prepared and give them your resume. Then wait for the employers to follow up. Some employers like to dig deep into your resume, and others like to ask more general questions. Therefore, prepare for all kinds of questions beforehand.
2. Don’t get bored while you are waiting
Compared to the time you spend talking to employers, the time you spend waiting is much, much longer. Therefore, don’t waste it! It’s a great time to connect with other people. Most will share a lot of useful information, such as the employers they have met, their conversation experiences, and the best follow-up gifts. When I came to the career fair in my sophomore year, I learned how to communicate effectively with employees while talking to people waiting in the same line. The more information you have, the better prepared you would be.
After going back home
1. Get ready for the interviews!
The battle does not end after the career fair! Companies will usually reach out to you very soon.
2. Follow up with hiring managers
Don’t be frustrated if you didn’t get interviews. You can try to send the hiring managers an email to express your strong interest in joining their company. Sometimes, you will get a second chance!
This year's Engineering Career Fair will be hosted on Sept. 17 & 18 on North Campus. I hope the career fair is a success and you find your ideal jobs/internships.
Written by Jiayue (Margaret) Lu