Countdown to Career Life
Arcadia recently held a Career and Internship Fair featuring over 90 companies interested in hiring our students. Events like these are a great way to expose yourself to different companies and potential career paths post-graduation. Or, if you’re an underclassman, there are also lots of internship opportunities. It’s important to make sure you’re prepared to put your best foot forward and impress recruiters. Here are some steps you can take to get ready for a career fair:
Update Your Resume
You’ll definitely want to have a decent number of printed resumes on hand with you to give to recruiters. Make sure that they are up to date with your appropriate experiences. The Office of Career Education offers sessions with career counselors to review your resume, as well as to read a cover letter or help practice for an interview. I had the opportunity to work with Janet in the OCE who helped me reorganize my resume and maximize the space on the page. She also advised me to be specific in describing my work experience. For example, stick to tactile skills. While it’s great to be an “organized multitasker,” that doesn’t tell an employer much about what you can do. If you know any kind of software programming or technical writing, make sure that is on the page! One recruiter actually pointed out to me that she was glad to see SEO writing listed on my resume. Keywords that are specific to the job description you are applying for are also a great idea, especially if you are submitting online. Keywords point out to employers that you have exactly what they’re looking for.
Dress to Impress
While you don’t have to dress in a style that is too formal, you should probably come dressed in something like your Sunday best. “Business casual” is a good basis for what is appropriate to wear when meeting recruiters. A nice pair of slacks will definitely make a better first impression than old jeans and a hoodie. What’s most important is that you feel comfortable and confident. The OCE can help with that, too. This past fair, they hosted a resale boutique offering career-ready clothing for anyone interested in affordable options. Find something that looks and feels good for you and is still professional.
Do Your Research
Recruiters want to know that you are interested in their company. Before the fair, check out the list of which companies are attending and identify the ones you would be interested in pursuing. For example, I was excited to see the National Philanthropic Trust on the list. Their work in the non-profit sphere and donor-advised funding is closely related to the work I do in my internship and would love to continue doing professionally. Because I researched more about NPT and what exactly donor-advised funding is before meeting the recruiters, I was able to have a long conversation with the representative, relating my own experience to the company’s work. Not only could I prove my interest in the company, but I could ask questions and learn more about the specifics from someone who does the work.
Keep a Clear Head
It can be easy to get nervous before a career fair, especially if you are like me and are particularly interested in an attending company. By taking some steps to prepare yourself beforehand, you can release some of those interview jitters. It helped me to remember that the reason companies come to career fairs is to meet students who will be potential hires. They wouldn’t take the time to attend if they didn’t want to meet you!
Keep a level head and you’ll do great.