Career Fair Advice: Stand Out From The Crowd

Editor’s Note: Hello, world! It’s Jacob Ferguson, the Marketing and Social Media Intern for the NIU College of Business. With the NIU Internship/Full-Time Job Fair this week we wanted to provide you with some advice on what to do once the Career Fairs are over.

NIU Career Fair

NIU Career Fair - Students connect with employers to learn more about opportunities available.

I hope you all had an awesome experience at the Career Fairs this week and had the opportunity to network with some individuals that will be able to aid you in developing yourself professionally as well as personally. Now that the Career Fairs are over some of you may be asking yourself, what do I do next? I am here to enlighten you on a few of the things that you could and should be doing.

1)      Initially while the experiences and conversations are still in your mind I suggest taking the time to jot down some notes detailing who you spoke to as well as what you talked about. This will be a great reference point for when you communicate with these individuals later which leads me to my next point.

2)      Do not, I repeat do not forget to follow up with the individuals you met and spoke with at the Career Fairs. Whether it be through email or a hand written note it is important that you follow up and continue to develop those relationships even if nothing comes out of it right away. There is a great chance that someone you met at one of the Career Fairs will be able to aid you in your professional life in the future.

3)      In addition, you may have had the opportunity to sign-up for some interviews with some of the companies you spoke with at the Career Fairs. Take these interviews seriously and attend every one that you signed up for as long as you are willing and able. Even if it is an internship or job that you don’t necessarily want it is great experience and shows the type of individual you are as well as the type of students we have here at NIU.

4)      With all this being said, the search should not begin or end at the NIU Career Fairs. You should be constantly researching companies and applying to jobs that you are interested. I personally have had the most luck seeking opportunities out on my own. There are so many opportunities out there that not everyone know about that you can be taking advantage of.

You’ve pressed your suit, polished your shoes, and now you feel like you are ready to take on the world. Good luck!

Career & Internship Fair Advice

The Internship and Job fairs have reached their end.  The stress of getting your suit pressed and polishing your shoes till you can eat off of them are gone.  You can finally rest because the hard part is finally behind you…..or is it?

You may think that now is a time to breathe easy but the time following these fairs is where the real leg work begins.  If you were well prepared, had a good pitch, and dressed the part, you should be seeing a steady stream of emails and calls starting to flow through your inbox from the employers you spoke with.  Other times, they may be waiting on you to initiate the first contact …sort of like that girl you met at the bar last weekend.

"The three day rule doesn’t apply in business"

This brings us to our first point.

Follow Up: It is important to follow up with any company you speak with.  Get representatives business cards!  Those little pieces of paper are your golden ticket.  You no longer have to throw arrows in the dark to move on in the application/interview process because you have a living, breathing person to guide you through it!  Write a handwritten thank you card or email thanking them for their time at the fairs.  It sounds like something my mother used to nag me about but I’ve heard this advice validated time and time again from recruiters.  Remember also to concisely restate your pitch in this note and close by asking what the next step in the process is.  Your attention to detail IS what grabs their attention and it really is the “little things” like this that can make a difference.

Stay Focused:  Don’t throw your suit in a pile on your bedroom floor just because the fairs are over.  Many companies have reserved time on campus for interviews that can take place just weeks after the fairs.  Stay in the mindset you had before/during the fairs and keep that momentum moving you forward.  Take advantage of these opportunities that are given to you.  Even if you’re uncertain of your future with a certain company use your time with them as an opportunity to learn more about the positions they have to offer.  Who knows, that company may have your dream job that you didn’t even know existed yet.  Even if nothing comes of your interview with a certain company, the practice you’ll receive along the way is priceless!

Prepare:  When you begin to schedule interviews with various companies, dig deeper on your research for each one.  They already like what you have to offer but now they want to see if you match their unique brand.  Look into their company culture as well as the descriptions of the positions they offer.  Understand how your skills  match those parameters then prepare and show the employer why YOU ARE the right fit for the job!

Use the STAR approach to sell why you are the best person.  The STAR approach is described in further detail below:

  • Situation- think of a situation that you were faced with that will be relevant in your interview.  An issue at work/school or a project.
  • Task- what did you have to do to find a solution to the situation?  Did you have to work with a team or step into a new role?
  • Action- What things did you personally do to achieve success?  Did you take a leadership role in that team or did you overcome a challenging obstacle?
  • Result- Are there any metrics related to your success?  What good came from you overcoming the situation?  Did your team meet its goals?  Do you have numbers to quantify your result? 2.0out