Experience is vital when applying for post-graduate positions. However, getting your foot in the door can be easier said than done these days. While competition remains heavy in a world enthralled with tech savvy young adults with high ambitions, how can students ensure they gain the proper experience necessary to get hired?
Internship fairs are a great chance for students to not only get the chance to gain experience, but also to network and practice “selling themselves” to employers. Preparation is key here. With The University of Tampa’s Internship Fair coming up on February 2nd, students should keep the following tips in mind prior to attending.
1. Suit Up
To ensure that you look the part, prepare your outfit in advance – this includes ironing and any dry cleaning that may be necessary. Refer to the following infographic if you are struggling with determining if your attire is appropriate or not:
2. Do Your Research
Prior to attending the fair, know what firms will be there and further research the ones that interest you. Once you have found the ones that interest you, rank them. This will come in handy when trying to navigate the crowded room packed with equally as eager students as yourself. Also, don’t be afraid to visit some of the tables that are not on your list – be open minded. Lastly, employees appreciate it when candidates are knowledgeable about the company, so keeping some facts handy before you approach them can be helpful.
3. Know How You Want to Sell Yourself
Internship fairs are not interviews, but merely a couple of minutes to make an impression – good or bad. You aren’t given a whole lot of time to make a first impression, however you are given time to prepare one. Before attending the fair make a list of 4 or 5 key points from your resume/prior experience that can serve as talking points when you meet employers and are met with the question, “Can you tell me a little bit about yourself?”
4. Be Ready to Network
Work the room. Whether you are talking to employers or just fellow students, be friendly and approachable. If you have business cards – bring them. If not, it’s okay, but do make sure you have plenty of copies of your resume and that they are stored in a protective folder so that they are presented to employers in a polished manner. If you need help with your resume stop by our office in RIVC 116 and someone will be happy to help you.
5. Google Yourself
Last, but not least, google yourself before attending the fair. Ask yourself if the persona that is portrayed in the results is someone you want a future employer to see. Always be mindful of what you are doing/posting on the internet because employers DO look at your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. when considering you for a position.
With these tips in mind you will surely be prepared for the upcoming spring 2015 Internship Fair, Monday February 2nd from 1-3:30p.m. in Fletcher Lounge, Plant Hall.
For a list of companies log into your HIRE-UT account now: www.ut.edu/hireut .
We can’t wait to see you there and hear about the experiences you gain from attending! Use the hashtag #utampainternshipfair2015 to document your time at the fair!
Eliza K. Majka
Marketing Intern, Office of Career Services
The University of Tampa