Life Saving Internship Fair Tips: What to Expect and How to Prepare
This post was written by Gyda Sumadi ’18, CCD Peer Career Ambassador.
Attention Everyone! The Internship Fair is this Thursday, February 4th from 2 to 5pm in Knight Auditorium! This means you have three hours to GROW YOUR NETWORK!
To make your life a little easier, here are some tips that really helped me the first time I attended an internship fair.
- Go with a buddy! So I would say, if you are nervous, definitely go with a friend! My freshman year, my roommate and I went to the internship fair together, and since we were both eager to network we helped each other practice our elevator pitches beforehand. And, while talking to employers, we had each other to bounce ideas off of. This definitely made me feel more comfortable and less nervous since I had my friend by my side.
- Have an elevator pitch! There will be many employers at the internship fair, but even more students. Everyone will be there networking with employers so you have about a few minutes to make a good first impression. If you want to really stand out and make sure employers remember you, come up with an elevator pitch. An elevator pitch is how you introduce yourself, with your name, class year, and something of value you want to share. For example: Hi, my name is Gyda Sumadi, and I am interested in pursuing a career in consulting where I can utilize both my business and language skills.
- Have a list of employers you are determined to speak with. Like I said, there will be many students attending this event. That means that there is no way you can speak to every company. So, go with a prepared list (I would suggest writing them down rather than having a mental list) and a brief description of what the company does/what you want to talk about with them. Try to stay focused on your list of companies because you will guaranteed have to wait in line to speak to them.
- It’s okay to stray away from the list. Okay, so I know I just said stick to the list but don’t always stick to the list. Most students are determined to go to the big name companies, like the big 4 firms. Its fine to want to network with the larger corporations however, I advise you that if perhaps you see a company that doesn’t have a particularly long line and maybe you have not heard of because they’re a small startup, GO TALK TO THEM! If they haven’t seen a lot of students then they will guaranteed remember you if you stroll over to chat with them. And, you never know, you maybe find them super interesting and then that’s the start of a great new beginning.
- Use the App. So here is something really cool, the CCD has an app, the Babson Career Fair App, where you can favorite companies, take notes, and there is even an interactive map that tells you where companies are and who is standing at the booth. You can view the complete company attendee list and the types of internships offered. DOWNLOAD THIS APP in the iTunes or Google Play app store: search “Babson Career Fair”.
- Have all your materials prepared. Come with a nice portfolio/folder that has a pen, copies of your resume (have at least 5 copies), and a piece of paper to jot down any notes. If you have a professional looking folder this will only add to your polished look and will make you look professional. So, buy a nice folder or portfolio. You will definitely use it across your Babson career.
- Do your research. For the companies that you really want to talk to, do your research on them. Show them that you know what their company mission is, how they are performing, what industry they are in, if there is a certain position you are looking to apply for, what skills they highly value. I am reminding you, there will be lots of students there and you only have a few minutes to network with each employer, so do not let them use this time explaining to you what the company does, show them you already know and you have something specific you want to discuss.
- Ask for the business card. From my experience, many companies do not want paper copies of resumes. Not because they do not want to spend the time to look at them, but because they do not want to be carrying a pile of paper. They may however ask you to send them an electronic version of your resume. So, THIS IS WHEN YOU NEED TO ASK FOR A BUSINESS CARD. If you liked a certain company do not leave that booth without a card. I can’t stress this enough! Do not be shy to ask- everyone will be handing them out. This does not guarantee you an opportunity but it does allow for a second conversation.
- Send a follow up email. If you get a business card- you should 100% send a follow up email and I am imploring you to do it within 24 hours. Remind them where and when you met, what you found interesting about their company, reference something you spoke about so they remember who you are, and perhaps if you feel comfortable attach your resume and state that you are interested in pursuing an opportunity with them in the future. Thank them for their time and insight.
- Do not freak out if you do not get a timely reply back. If you send a follow up email, and you do not get a timely response. Stay tuned, I once got a response two weeks after sending a follow up email. Employers are very busy but they have not forgotten about you so relax and sit tight.
Lastly, go in with a positive mindset. Do not stress and do not set the expectation that you are going to walk out of the room with a job offer. The point of this event is to facilitate conversations between you and companies. A successful internship fair is one where you receive contact information from companies you could see yourself working for in the future. You will not walk out with an offer, but with multiple follow up emails, and perhaps a phone conversation with the employer you want to intern for, it will start the process of receiving an offer.