First Years at the Career Expo- What to Expect
This post was written by Peer Career Ambassador, Shreya Shah ’20
As an enthusiastic first year student, I was ready to take advantage of all Babson had to offer. I decided to join many clubs and organizations and I attended as many leadership workshops, guest speaker events, and retreats as I could.
When I learned about CCD and the invaluable resources they offered, I developed the mindset that I will be able to easily secure an internship for the summer by meeting with staff and connecting with employers directly at events.
One particular event stood out for me– The Undergraduate Career Expo. I learned about the long list of companies and corporate partners that will be attending this event and I was beyond excited. I thought I would have the chance to meet many employers, and with successful interactions, I would have many options to choose from for summer internships.
I was wrong.
While I was going around from booth to booth and meeting with employers, I noticed a common trend. As soon as I mentioned that I was a first-year student, they stated that their internship programs only targeted juniors and seniors.
I felt hopeless. I collected business cards and some information about the companies I visited, but I wasn’t able to build important connections to reach my goal of securing an internship.
Reflecting back at my experience at the Career Expo last year, there are a few things I wish I knew before walking in.
- Accepting that it is hard for first years to secure an internship. I made the mistake of thinking how easy it would be to find a job if I had the chance to meet so many employers. I ended up finding an internship with a company that did not come to the Career Expo. This does not mean that you should not attend. I highly encourage all first years to attend because there is a lot to learn.
- Get a brief background of the companies. I am not asking you to do extensive research about their mission statement, but it is always a good idea to have a gist of what they do so you can approach them in a certain way.
- Go in with an open mind. Although some first-years are undecided, there are few who are determined about concentrating in a specific field. Even if you have something in mind, it is quite possible for you to end up concentrating in an area you did not imagine coming in. Your first year of college is an important time to explore your options and see where else you many develop interests.
- If you are interested in a specific company, ask them about what you can do to get involved as a first year student. Although it is unlikely for them to offer you an internship right away, showing interest early on is a good sign to employers and hiring managers. Also, some companies have launch programs and conferences for first-years to get involved.
- Ask them for their business card after your conversation. Look them up on LinkedIn if you want. Send them a personal note thanking them for their time and remind them of your conversation as you send them a connection.
- Keep in contact with hiring managers at companies that interest you. If you touch base with them by sending them occasional emails, they will remember who you are and this will be helpful once you are finally a junior trying to get an internship with this company.
- Big name companies are not always the best options for first years. Although you many think finding a program at a big company early on will serve you well, if you are not determined to stay with this company in the following years, I suggest exploring smaller companies in areas which currently interest you. You will get more of a hands-on experience and gain transferrable skills once you start working for a bigger firm.
- Network. Network. Even if an employer at the Career Expo may not be able to directly help you find something to do over summer, there is a chance that there is someone in their network who can. Open up to them about your interests, skills, or any new areas you may want to explore. Who knows! They might have a friend with a startup looking for eager students to join the team and learn.
There is so much more to attending a Career Expo than just finding a job or an internship. You will learn how to pitch to employers, build and sustain connections, and get a head start in your career journey. I recommend you all to attend and make the most out of it with the tips listed above.