Career Fairs Are Over - Now What? By PGP Director, Sally Phelps

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Visiting companies have left, the tables have been taken down, and my suit is lying rumpled on the floor in a corner of my room.  Career fairs are over for the fall and I don't really feel that much closer to having a job/internship for next summer. 

Now what do I do?

The Fall Career Fair and Meet the Startups Fair  (put on by our Fab Foundry Folks) were well attended and companies left campus quite pleased with the students and alumni they had spoken to. 

"So I talked to a lot of people...now how do I make something happen?"

Here are a few tips to keep you moving forward in the recruiting process.

  • Follow up with the companies that you were most interested in from both fairs.   First step is always to apply online (especially to the bigger companies that have an online application system).  Apply to any jobs or internships that look appealing and appropriate.  Keep yourself organized - create a spreadsheet or tracking system for what positions you've applied to, and when. 
  • Have you ever heard me say apply to each job twice?  This is what I mean - now that you've applied on-line, follow up with a person that works in or has a connection to that company.  It could be a recruiter you met at the fair, an Olin alum, a contact of PGP's, a family friend or relative - ANYONE who can call attention to the resume you just submitted to their database.  Go find that stack of business cards that just may be sitting in a drawer, purse, or the pocket of the blazer that you wore that day!   Compose a quick email to the recruiter or person you know at the companies you've applied to, and attach a copy of your resume. The email should be brief but let the person know you are definitely interested in their company.  Your question at the end - What do you suggest I do as a next step?
  • IF your contact person is an alum, don't assume they will refer you JUST BECAUSE you're from Olin.  Suggest a phone conversation or in-person meeting so that you may spend a little time with the person, and they can learn a bit more about you and your technical abilities, and therefore (hopefully) feel more comfortable referring you. 

For example: "Hello Mary, It was great meeting you at the Olin Career Fair last week. I was the one who talked to you about ABC.  I really enjoyed learning about all the great new products TNT is developing and would love the opportunity to further discuss the  internship program that you have available for Summer 2015. I have applied on your website to these requisitions - [list them by name or by number] - and I am also attaching a current version of my resume. I can best be reached by email or cell on Tuesdays and Thursdays after 3 PM,   and I look forward to hearing from you soon! "

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  • If you didn't get to all the tables at the fair, can't remember someone you spoke with or if you missed a company you wanted to meet email Suzanne for contacts from the PGP career fair, and you may contact Dakota to get a contact name from the Foundry's career fair.
  • Read the weekly PGP newsletter!  These have our 'hottest job leads' - people who have just called us on the phone saying, "Hey we have an intern opening and would love to talk with some of your students." 
  • Set goals for yourself.  Put time aside to work on this as if it were a weekly class assignment.    Maybe you decide you'll devote 2 hours a week to your job search.  Or that you'll apply to 6-10 companies before Spring Break.  Make it actionable, and measurable. 
  • Anticipating an interview or already have one scheduled? Plan to meet with me (Sally) for a Mock Interview   Email me to book a time - early mornings are the best time - the days get busier as they go by.   
  • Still not getting any interviews or interested in companies who weren't at our career fairs?  Make a list of your 'dream' employers and ask PGP if they have any contacts there.
  • Interested in doing an internship near home next summer?  Network with family and friends while you're home for Thanksgiving Break. You might be surprised to find out that Aunt Martha knows a person who works at your absolute favorite company. Once Aunt Martha connects you to her contact ask for an informational interview. An informational interview is a way for you to learn more about a company. You should still dress like you are going for an actual interview and bring along your resume. Not only will you learn more about the company but you will also make a great first impression and that contact will remember you when a job comes up. To learn more about the informational interview,  click here.
  • Thinking about research for next summer? Watch for PGP's REU party that will take place in early December.  Start to get familiar with the National Science Foundation which funds many REU's each year - you can find their site here.   
  • Talk to your professors and see if they know of any opportunities for the summer.    
  • Log into the Olin JobFinder often. New jobs are being posted every day!
  • Set a goal of trying to get at least 1 interview before winter break. The semester is moving along quickly - get in the game!

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*TIP OF THE DAY*  Don't stop talking to people!  As mentioned earlier, get informational interviews whenever you can and ask people about their company, their jobs and their career paths.  You will learn so much by doing this.  You never know who you might get connected to, or what you may learn from a meeting like this.

Most importantly, keep a master list of all of the professionals you have met along the way, and follow up with them 1-2x a year and let them know how you're doing.  People who are good at this never need to look for a job again, their contacts are always thinking of them and sending along job leads!   But they can't do this unless they hear from you regularly, and find out what you've been up to and what you want to do next. 

Finding a job is like having a job - it takes time.  And let's face it, the semester is moving along quickly.     But there will be A LOT MORE RECRUITING ACTIVITY in the spring. 

Come on by the lower level library and find PGP anytime - if you want to talk over tactics, strategy or your future!

Posted in: From Our Staff, Olin Employers