We know that internship and career fairs can be chaotic. It can be overwhelming to be confronted with all the representative tables and interested students when you first walk in the room, which is why we recommend “knowing your targets”.
Before diving headlong into this crazy situation, you should look at the list of companies that will be attending the fair. You can see who they are, what internships or positions their company is offering, and what you will need to bring to the fair to be considered for a position. This way, you’ll already have an action plan the second you enter the fair, which will instantly help you to feel like you have some measure of control over the situation.
Step Two: Have Your Resume!
This might seem like a no-brainer, but you would be surprised how many students simply wander into these fairs unprepared. There is nothing a company likes less than an unprepared applicant, and you’ll instantly be branded as “not serious about the position”. So don’t shoot yourself in the foot! Take my advice: Print out several copies of your resume (more than you think you may need), and bring them with you! This allows the company recruiter to learn about you instantly, and put a face to your application.
One more thing – Your resume should be one page, and one page only! You should ask someone (a career counselor, perhaps) to objectively look over your resume to make sure that you are putting forward the most pertinent information about yourself, and presenting yourself in the best light. Your resume should showcase what a shining star you really are!
Step Three – Know What Position You Want!
Do not be that applicant who wanders up to the recruiter’s table and asks, “So… um, what positions are you offering for summer?” Be prepared! Walk up to the table, shake the hand of the recruiter, tell them your name, hand them your resume, and state which position you are interested in. Be confident! You have every right to this position, and your confidence will impress the recruiter. The best way to make a memorable impact on a recruiter is to prove to them that you are prepared for this moment.
If you follow these steps, I guarantee that your internships and career fair experiences will go much smoother. I can’t guarantee that you will get an interview for every position you apply to, but I can guarantee that you will not feel like a chicken running around with their head cut off – and that’s priceless.
Maddy Lough-Stevens is the Intern Coordinator and “How-To” Blogger for the First Base Foundation. Her opinions and comments can be reached at email@example.com!