Career Fair is Over, Now What?

October 21, 2020

The campus seems to have taken a collective sigh of relief now that the Fall Career Fair is over.  But, are you still feeling a bit discouraged that things aren’t happening for you?  Don’t despair!  There are still upcoming recruiting events this fall and there will be more in the spring. On Friday, November 13, PGP will join up with Harvard, MIT, BU, Tufts and Yale to virtually host the Engineering Career Fair Collaborative in Harvard Square. This fair is for students looking for opportunities other than software roles. Keep an eye out for additional details in the PGP News.

What should you do after a career fair?

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. 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 someone from PGP say apply to each job twice?  This is what we 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, a contact of PGP's, a family friend or relative - ANYONE who can call attention to the resume you just submitted to their database. Compose an 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 is an Olin alum, don't assume they will refer you JUST BECAUSE you're from Olin.  Be polite and introduce yourself tell them a bit more about you and your technical abilities. You can also suggest that you are available to follow-up by phone or in person to help them feel more comfortable referring you. In most cases you may want to reach out to an alum prior to applying online.

Sample email:

"Hello Mary, It was great meeting you at the Olin Career Fair. 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 2019. 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! "

·         If you didn't get to speak to all the companies at the fair, can't remember someone you spoke with or if you missed a company you wanted to meet email Suzanne for contacts.

·         Read the weekly PGP newsletter that comes out on Friday afternoons!  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 during winter break.  Make it actionable, and measurable. 

·         Anticipating an interview or already have one scheduled? Plan to meet with Sally or Suzanne for a Mock Interview.  You can schedule these in Handshake.

·         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/Winter break. You might be surprised to find out that Aunt Martha knows a person who works at your 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.

·         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 Handshake often. New jobs/internships are being posted every day!

·         Set attainable goals: I will apply to 10 companies before the end of the semester or I will attempt to get an interview by Thanksgiving or Right now I need to focus on school-work but over winter break I will start applying to companies.