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!

The World at your Fingertips!

Social Media:  In one word it’s been revolutionary for the way we communicate in today’s world. The idea of Myspace, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and even Instagram were unheard of 15 years ago for ways to communicate our lives to one another. These social media outlets have allowed for out of the box thinking and innovation. The ability to network and meet people are probably two of the most powerful things gained from these social media outlets. It’s created a need for companies to hire social media interns and strategists to help better their online presence. People do use direct mail still in an effective way.  The difference is that now direct mail needs to be used much more strategically and in a highly-targeted way.   A perfect example is what I do here as the social media and marketing intern for the College of Business.  Throughout the first semester, our mission was to help make things more accessible to students on our social media outlets. Examples of this practice were bringing attention to guest speakers, athletics results, etc. We also run contests about the college to help reinforce school pride in the students, and to help them learn how they benefit from their education here. This helps reinforce the core values of the College of Business and helps out our students with studying for tests. Some other examples of our blog posts include first-hand accounts and tips for succeeding in classes such as UBUS 310, a nine-credit business course required for all business students.

One social media outlet I want to bring up that stands out to me personally the most is LinkedIn as it provides the most value to the students here at NIU. As a freshman business major, your first impression of the college is the name Dennis Barsema because the college is in Barsema Hall.  But then very soon you learn more about Mr. Barsema.  Mr. Barsema is an alumnus of NIU as well as an instructor in the Social Entrepreneurship field. In my own personal experience when connecting with him it’s like being connected to over 500+ professionals and students. This in turn has many benefits for potential jobs and connecting with recruiters. I also use LinkedIn as a way to know my resume by completing all necessary requirements of obtaining an all-star profile. This helped me a great deal.  Recently at the Internship Fair on campus, I felt very confident about my resume and talked comfortably with employers. I’m constantly looking for more ways to improve and seeing how others highlight things on their profile gives me great feedback to better set myself apart from the fold. The opportunity to make connections with people here at NIU, alums and professionals in the industry is something we didn’t have 10 years ago. I’m grateful to Mr. Barsema for showing me the ways of LinkedIn and others along the way…I feel I’m ready to mentor others on how to use this great tool of networking.

As a start, here are two things you can do right away:

1. Talk with your favorite professor or advisor about tips for creating a LinkedIn account.  2.  Contact me directly at (robwiller@comcast.net) to learn more about how I created my account.

http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=147764262&trk=nav_responsive_tab_profile