Cat Mattis—Brockport hosted a Career and Internship Fair at the beginning of the month. I attended in search of a summer internship, and I KILLED IT, if I do say so myself. Well, I do admit, I had areas where I could have improved, but I realize what I did wrong, so I hope to share my mistakes and others I have seen, hoping that others can learn from them as well.
Do not go unprepared. This was my second year going to the Career and Internship fair, so I knew a little more of what to expect this year, but events like this can still be pretty awkward, no matter how much you prepare. However, this year I used the app the school made to learn what companies I wanted to talk to before I got to the actual event. My company research helped me cut down on the time I spent awkwardly walking through the tables and get straight to the reason I’m there.
Do not wear jeans or sweats. I made this mistake my first year and then sprinted back to my dorm to change. It’s not specifically stated, but the dress code is business casual. Maybe even go a little above! This is your first chance to make a good impression; don’t ruin it.
Do not forget your resume. Did this one my first year as well. Giving them your resume could be that extra nudge to show an employer that you are an exceptional candidate for the position you want. I recommend bringing 10 to 15 resumes. You may not use them all, but it’s better to be safe than sorry. You can find a more accurate number if you DO YOUR RESEARCH on which companies you want to talk to beforehand, but even if you do decide on like 8 companies to talk to, add 5 to that number just in case you see other companies there.
Do not wing it. Plan what you are going to say ahead of time. I screwed this up at one of the tables at the job fair because I only went to it for the free stuff. I looked like an idiot at first, but the people at the table were very understanding about it. After figuring out what I was trying to say, and asking a better question about the company, the woman standing there told me more about the company. It sounded like an interesting place, but I had no idea on how to talk to this company after the rough start. The main point is, try to at least somewhat plan what you could say! Oh well…it was worth the free bags of Oreos. #noregrets
Do not stress too much! These tips may seem straightforward, but they are very easy to forget! Before going to the next career or internship fair, make sure to plan plan plan and plan to be yourself, because that’s what employers are there to see and really care about!