For every student, there’s one lingering question that follows you throughout your entire college career. What are you going to do when you get out of school? The answer to this question may seem easy, but actually getting the career of your dreams is a bit of a challenge in today's economy. Luckily for us Virginia Tech students, twice a year a job fair provides many opportunities to interact with employers hiring for your major and hopefully shine enough to land a job.
Every fall, Business Horizons career fair brings together over 100 different companies, all hiring various business majors for different positions. The companies themselves offer just about any kind of opportunity a student could desire. From working for Boeing doing marketing on their latest aircraft, to working with Belk as a Executive training employee, the possibilities are endless.
Not only does the job fair give you a great way to get face time with some excellent companies, other programs and opportunities present themselves with recommendations on how to prepare for success during the event. For me, the best resource for preparation was my business fraternity, Delta Sigma Pi. From my brothers, I learned just about every aspect needed to find a job, from which seminars to attend–to making a cover letter in order to make my resume stand out. So, for those out there who are a bit worried about how they will find a job when the time comes, here are my tips:
- Don’t start the search senior year. Sure, it may seem silly to go to a career fair as a freshman just starting out on their college path. After all, most companies are looking for juniors (for internships) and seniors (for full time jobs). However, as the saying goes, practice makes perfect. Starting out as a freshman will enable you to get a strong grasp on what is expected at job fairs. It will also give you the opportunity to start researching possible career paths and building relationships with the recruiters.
Most businesses (if not too busy) are willing to talk to you about their company and what you could do for them as well as offer up tips on how to make improvements for the future (your dress, resume, etc). Begin networking early, who knows? You may even be that lucky freshman who lands an awesome summer internship.
Review your resume and consider a cover letter. Your resume should be one page max. Think about it from the employers perspective–at the job fairs, they will be handed a ton of resumes. They want something they can glace over quickly and gain a good idea of your potential as a candidate. Also, make sure to keep everything up to date and relevant to your career search. By this I mean don’t put your high school job if you have better work experience. (For freshmen: its okay if you only have “lifeguard” or something of the like on your resume, no one’s expecting you to have incredible life experience just yet).
Dress the part. Make sure you are dressed to the nines. DON’T YOU DARE wear sneakers, clothes with holes (or even stray hairs) on them, or (ladies) avoid anything too revealing. Shirts should be tucked in and buttoned up. Shoes must be closed toe. Skirts should come right to or past your knee. Freshly showered always helps as well.
Fake confidence. Most people go in terrified. Its bad when you can actually notice those who are terrified. No matter how worried you are, act like you own the place. Speak clearly, maintain eye contact and have a firm handshake. All these things will impress the company rep you chat with. If you act like you’re unsure of yourself, a company would be unsure of you as well. It's all about making them think they NEED you, so be confident that they do!
DO YOUR HOMEWORK! This might be the most important tip of all. You don’t want to walk up to a company and ask “so what is it that you do.” Research the company and opportunities within it prior to the career fair. This will not only give you something to talk about with the recruiters but also show that you are truly interested. It usually takes no more than 20 minutes of research and, in my experience, this little bit of homework makes a huge difference.
I am very fortunate that Virginia Tech brings students and companies together in such a way. For those of you outside the Hokie Nation, most information about college job fairs can be found by locating the career center on your respective campus. These opportunities are truly the best way to get a job, so take advantage, start networking, and find your dream job!
SmartCollegeVisit is pleased to welcome Emily Pickelhaupt to our team! Emily is interning with us this semester and is our first SCV Campus Rep & Brand Ambassador. As a student at Virginia Tech, she will share news and insights into college life as a Hokie. You're invited to post questions for Emily in the comments section on our Virginia Tech Profile Page.