Hey everyone, I’m back and it’s time to talk about getting ready for the career fair! I’m Argyris Kriezis and this is Part 2 my series “Landing that Internship,” in which I describe the process each First Year goes through to help us get an internship. If you haven’t read Part 1 yet, you can find it here.
I’ll talk a bit about how I got ready for the last career fair, and it may give you some ideas of how you can prepare for the one coming up next week.
My resume was ready, and I thought I would just get out there and go get that internship. Luckily, PGP knew it might not be that simple. I needed to give a lot more thought to how to present myself, and how to help each recruiter understand who I was and what I was looking for. Most importantly, I wanted them to remember me!
“Easy, right? I’ll just go to the career fair, and start speaking about how awesome I am.”
Well, I quickly realized it was not that simple to do. The first time I tried to ‘practice’ present myself to my roommate, I couldn’t think of anything to say. I just stared at him.
How do you present yourself to lots of different companies at a career fair? That was the most difficult part for me. It takes practice, and you need to be prepared.
Last fall, the First Years did a practice career fair, where we learned how to make a memorable elevator pitch, what to do (and what not to do) during the ‘real’ career fair, and even how to dress for the event. Upperclassmen and alumni were invited, and the alumni were representing their companies. For the purpose of the practice career fair, they were there to help by giving us feedback – not necessarily to hire us - so we wouldn’t be so nervous for the ‘real thing.’
Some tips from the upperclassmen and alumni:
- Don’t try to hit every single company at the career fair, and
- Prioritize the companies you most want to talk to.
After hearing this, I rethought my plan. I worked on making a pitch that would not only show some of the projects or activities I had done, but would also connect me to the companies in some way, and show them that I was the person they were looking for. We went from table to table practicing our elevator pitches, and trying to figure out the best way to present ourselves and make a positive impression.
Presenting yourself does take practice, and you definitely want to be prepared before you arrive at the career fair. I know I need to study the companies I’m interested in and find the best way to modify my introduction in order to make a connection with them. I also now feel more confident in talking about my skills and experiences.
Stay tuned, more blogs are coming on how students get prepared for job interviews, and what our alumni are up to in the ‘real world.’