Are you ready to step into the ‘real working world'?
As an almost-grad, I’m definitely looking toward career prospects, but frankly, I have no clue where to start.
Luckily, there’s Career Days, a 2-day event where you can talk to over 90 employers with 2000+ jobs—and get a head start on your professional path.
For those of you who haven’t been to a hiring fair, Career Days is more than just an information session—it’s an event for you to create meaningful connections with employers looking to recruit (maybe even on the spot) and to establish yourself as a professional candidate.
If this is your first time attending, below are some tips on how to prepare for the big event. (You can also check out this page for more ways to prep!)
Have a gameplan
Since some companies will only be attending for one day, do your research on the list of employers you’re interested in meeting to avoid awkward first impressions or missing them entirely.
Prepare a resume and cover letter unique to the positions you’re interested in. If you’re feeling rusty, drop by the front desk of the Centre for Student Involvement & Careers in Brock Hall to meet with a Career Peer Coach to review your resume or cover letter.
This is your chance to be a face rather than a number in an HR system! That being said, some employers will still ask you to apply online.
Protip #1: Apply to your position online beforehand and use this opportunity to make an impression on the very person who'll be reviewing your application.
Always ask questions. Questions that a Google search can’t answer. Questions that challenge and that demonstrate your unique value.
In short, pick the recruiters' brains and ask questions that benefit you and show that you’ve done your homework.
Consider questions that spark an informative dialogue, such as:
What skills and experience do you look for in an ideal candidate or intern?
What does a day at work look like for you?
Network (like a human person!)
Networking. It can conjure up images of suits and phony small talk ending with an awkward business card exchange—but it doesn’t need to. Networking can be a very human way of making new connections that aren’t limited to professionals and employers.
When in doubt, remember the cheesy but catchy 4 Ps of networking:
Prepared. Show that you care by doing your research on the company you’re talking to.
Personable. Be genuine. Find common ground and interests—and listen! A lot of us are guilty of waiting for our turn to talk rather than actually listening.
Purposeful. Think about why you are networking and what questions you want answered. This will influence what you contribute and take away from an interaction.
Professional. Don’t talk about the party you were at last night, and dress to impress.
Protip #2: Google your name and clean up any online and public content that may paint you in an, ahem, unprofessional light.
Protip #3: After Career Days, take the initiative in contacting the employer with a follow-up or thank-you email. This leaves a great impression as well as a point of contact. Win-win.