I hope you’re staying warm on this strangely freezing March morning, I hope spring gets here soon! To all my fellow seniors out there who are currently applying for jobs and grad school, the process is incredibly STRESSFUL. The applications, the interviews, the desperation to make yourself stand out among others can be very overwhelming, but I have learned through my own job searching and affiliation with the CEPD office that networking is the KEY to helping this process be successful! This past Tuesday, I was able to attend Siena’s 14th Annual Career, Internship and Grad School Fair and I was SO glad that I did! Over 120 businesses set up tables in the MAC on Tuesday afternoon and a huge amount of students from all majors attended, handing out resumes and business cards and having conversations with employers about possible opportunities. This was the biggest networking event I have been to thus far and I have to admit, it was a bit nerve-wracking at first! Talking about yourself can definitely feel a little strange at first, but events such as these are a huge opportunity to talk about the skills and assets you can bring to a school or a team. I talked to about five or six different employers (even the Boston University Grad School) and they were all incredibly nice and interested in what I had to say. I was even able to speak with the team from Habitat for Humanity International about future volunteer opportunities, who told me my course of study (English and Marketing) would be perfect for their team!
Although I’m from out of state and was not able to find any immediate job openings in the Boston area that were offered at the career fair, I am so glad that I was able to attend. I met some fantastic people, particularly from Linium Recruiting, who have offered to see what they can do with my resume. In addition, I received some advice about how to enter the Marketing and Public Relations field, which has helped me tremendously in continuing my job search. Networking is about creating relationships with experienced professionals and about learning as much as possible about creating a strong future career; over the past four years as a Siena student, I have truly learned how to network. Having a Liberal Arts education has not only provided us with hard earned degrees, but has also provided skills that we will take into the professional world and beyond. If you come across large networking events such as this one, or even smaller meetings, go to them! They may be nerve-wracking and you may think, “Well, how is this going to help me?,” but I promise, it’ll be worth your while. Networking events are like informal interviews and they will give you the chance to practice presenting yourself to employers, something that one can never do often enough. You’ll learn so much about the career field you’re pursuing. Even if you don’t find a job with that particular company, odds are they are going to know someone who will be able to help you!
Check out my article at http://www.hercampus.com/school/siena to see a list of tips on how to network the right way! Did you go to the career fair on Tuesday? Let me know in the comments!
So, the 14th Annual Career, Internship and Grad School Fair is taking place right here on campus TODAY from 3:00-6:30pm in the MAC and this event is a huge deal. There are over 120 businesses coming from all over the area and beyond, there is going to be a FREE LinkedIn Photo Booth and I am honestly super excited for the event! The Career Fair is a fantastic opportunity to make connections, network your skills and to discover some of the companies you may be interested in working for, but preparing for this event is equally as important. Here are my top five tips on getting ready for today and other networking events:
Resume:I know this may sound obvious, but your resume should be a clear description of your skills and the experience you have! You should know your resume better than anyone, make sure everything is correctly written and formatted. Make sure your resume has been properly critiqued and that you overprint copies to bring to the event! You don’t want to be speaking with a potential employer without a spare copy of your resume to give them. Career Education and Professional Development is located in Foy 203 and their office hours vary from 8:30am-4:30pm Monday through Friday. Please check in with the CEPD office to inquire about specific times by contacting them at firstname.lastname@example.org or (518)783-2339
Dressing for Success: Your outfit for the Career Fair will make a huge statement about your interest in entering the professional world, so take the time to choose something! I was able to attend the Dress for Success Fashion Show last week and they provided a TON of ideas on how to look good while making a great first impression:
For girls: Conservative is always the safest route! Knee length dresses or skirts with a nice blouse are always great options, plus you can add a cute statement necklace or a sweater/cardigan to make it pop just a bit! Pumps or flats are ideal, but stay away from anything that may appear too flashy, short or inappropriate. In terms of makeup, a neutral eye and lip will always make the best impression!
For guys: You don’t have to wear a tux, but make sure you’re dressing to make a positive impact on future employers. Dress pants, a dress shirt and a tie are absolutely essential for this event, as are dress shoes. Suit jackets don’t hurt either! PLEASE don’t wear sneakers or jeans and make sure that if you do have facial hair, it’s clean and trimmed.
Business Cards: Having personalized business cards will provide potential employers with easy access to your contact information AND will make you more memorable during that two minute conversation. Career Education and Professional Development will print out sheets of business cards for FREE and all you have to do is fill out a form, which you can find here. Fill out this form as soon as you can, they take up to three business days to print!
Research: Know who you’re talking to! Learn as much as you can about the businesses that are coming, you don’t want to be caught by surprise when an employers asks what you know about their company and you don’t have any idea what they’re talking about. Here is the list of ALL of the employers and grad schools that will be attending the Career Fair today, don’t hesitate to take a look at it! See which businesses you’re interested in and look up their website to see what they do, where they’re located, what their mission statement is, etc. If you can have a conversation with someone about their company during the Career Fair, you’re going to stand out among a lot of other candidates!
Elevator Pitch: This is almost like a sales pitch, but instead of telling someone about a product, you’re telling them about yourself. An elevator pitch just has to be two or three sentences long, but make sure that you’re telling employers things about yourself that will incite them to want to continue the conversation. Tell them who you are, what you’re studying here at Siena and what career path you’re planning to take and PRACTICE this! Make sure you can recite your elevator pitch exceptionally and avoid using the words “like” or “um.”
I hope this tips help you prepare for today, as they are the key aspects to making a good impression on the attending businesses! Pre registration for the Career Fair is now closed, but walk-ins ARE welcome, so register TODAY and come to the MAC to join us for this exciting event! Even if the right business for you isn’t here at the Career Fair, odds are there will be someone there who will be able to lead you in the desired direction!