Undergraduate Blog / Career Development

SPRING Career Fair – Thursday, February 28th – Don’t Miss It!

This blog post was written by Peer Career Ambassador, Shreya Shah ’20.

The Spring Career Fair is just around the corner. It will take place this Thursday, February 28th from 2-5pm at the PepsiCo Pavillion (Webster Center). There is no registration required and all students are welcome to drop in anytime. In preparation for the career fair, here are a few tips and key things to keep in mind. 

Research the companies attending. There are currently over 50 employers registered to attend the career fair this semester. They range from Internet & Software companies, like Dell EMC, retail companies like Bloomingdale, and Big 4 Accounting Firms, such as EY. Based on your industry or preference, take a look at the companies that you might be interested in learning more about. Make a list of those companies and look at their career page online to look for open positions. You should also conduct some basic research on the product or service provided by the company, the culture, internship program, etc. This will help you draft a pitch or have a general idea before you approach employers.

Touch-up your resume and bring copies with you at the fair. Based on the industry you are applying to, cater your resume to match the skills and personality the hiring managers would be looking for. For example, if you plan on stopping by marketing and media companies and enjoy graphic design, feel free to make your resume look more creative with classy templates and colors, but still maintain the professional feel. However, many companies prefer the standard resume template because with a lot of volumes, resumes are typically scanned during the hiring process and these scanners prefer standard templates to pick up keywords. Additionally, finance and accounting industries prefer a traditional professional resume with previous experiences containing skills they may be seeking for, rather than creative resumes. 

Dress to impress. Definitely make a good impression by wearing business professional clothes. Here are some inspiration and a spectrum of business casual and professional attire for both men and women.

Prepare a short pitch. While approaching employers, you shouldn’t just be asking questions about the company, but also grabbing their attention with a hook. I am not saying to plan a speech or sound scripted when talking to them, but you should have a few things in mind regarding your interest in the company and why your previous experience or future career aspirations match. Based on the research you conduct on your companies of interest, gather relevant information and write a short pitch. You should not say what you wrote down word-for-word while talking to the employer, but using what you wrote during the research phase as a guide and direction for your conversation.

I.e. “Hi! My name is ___.” *shake hands* “Nice to meet you! I am a Sophomore here and I am very interested in the real estate environment. I just took ___class/ had______(previous experience in industry) and I learned ___. I see ____company has a similar mission and ____(internship position) seems to fit my career interest. I was wondering if you could provide me with more information about it.”

This example demonstrates how to approach an employer. Nonetheless, you should adjust what you say based on the direction of the conversation. If the employer breaks in during the pitch and makes a comment and/or asks a question, respond to him and do not get nervous about losing your place in your pitch. Based on the flow of the conversation, bring up key points and show why you would be a good fit for the company and ask questions to validate this.

Breathe. Relax. Have Fun. The Career Fair can be stressful, especially if you are actively seeking for a job. Keep in mind that every student at the fair is most likely in the same shoes and there is no reason to be scared. Especially if you are a first-year or a sophomore, it can be hard to find open positions at all companies, but you should still attend to practice talking to employers. They may even collect your resume now and reach out about future positions if you impress them!  It can be difficult at first to approach employers, but with the tips provided above, it can get a lot easier. Once again, practice makes perfect and you should notice that once you start talking to more employers, you will get a better grip at pitching and asking them great questions. Breathe and smile because the happier you feel, the more excited you will look, and it will make the employers feel happy to have a positive conversation with you too!