Why all students should attend
Some look forward to the fall Career Fair as an opportunity to finally exercise all the interview, elevator speech and résumé preparation they have toiled over for weeks. Others cringe at the thought of coming face to face with recruiters, who have the potential to decide their future.
Fortunately, Saint Joseph’s University has close relationships with many of the employers who attend the Career Fair and is able to put students’ minds at ease. But how can students walk in feeling more comfortable right from the start?
One way is by starting early. As crazy as it sounds, attending the Career Fair as a freshman or sophomore is more beneficial than one would think. It makes the process far less intimidating. As a freshman who attended the 2015 fall Career Fair, employers weren’t necessarily interested in talking to me about positions, as I wasn’t eligible for internships or entry-level jobs. Instead, I asked for advice in starting the internship process for the next year, which gave me skills and tricks to use in my search for the summer of 2017. It was also helpful to observe and make note of the ways that upperclassmen interacted with recruiters.
Another strategy is to approach employers with an open mind. As drilled into our heads as it is, some employers appreciate a less rehearsed approach in starting a conversation. The elevator pitch we prepare doesn’t always lead to a meaningful conversation. I have found that gauging the recruiter before launching into one of the renditions of who I am and what my goals are helps me make a more personal connection with them. I normally turn my quick speech into a story, which opens it up for questions and feedback.
Many recruiters want to figure out if you are the type of person they could have lunch with, not just work together. Be prepared and professional, but don’t let a rehearsed conversation dominate your interaction.
Of the class of 2016 St. Joe’s graduates, 96 percent are employed, pursuing graduate study and/or serving in volunteer programs or in the military, according to the undergraduate admissions website. So relax. If one conversation with the company you love doesn’t go that well, it’s not the end-all-be-all.
Statistically speaking, there is a tremendously high chance that you’ll have a job offer by graduation as a St. Joe’s student. The Career Fair may be the reason for that, but there are plenty of other resources through the Career Development Center and LinkedIn. It’s worth a shot to attend even if there’s just one recruiter with whom you’d like to make an impression. They may be able to give that final push to a hiring manager if all goes well at the fair.
My work at the Career Fair landed me three interviews and, ultimately, the greatest summer internship ever.
It’s worth putting on a blazer and spending even just half an hour there. If anything, use the Career Fair as a time to practice for future interviews. This day can be fun, really. Recruiters attend because they want to talk to you. You’re a Hawk: prove it.