HOW TO SUCCESSFULLY NAVIGATE A CAREER FAIR
There’s a lot of networking happening in the iSchool this upcoming week. With the iSchool Career Fair and iSchool Library Expo on the horizon, you may be feeling a little overwhelmed. Not to worry! With a little preparation and practice, you’ll be ready to network like a pro. Check out these tips for successfully navigating a career fair:
#1: DEVELOP YOUR INTRODUCTION
A compelling introduction is key when getting ready to network. To prepare, you’ll want to create a 30-second summary of your core attributes and interest areas. Your intro should cover four areas: who you are, what skills/experience you offer, the types of opportunities you’re seeking, and a question to keep the conversation going.
Here are a couple examples:
- “Hi, my name’s John and I’m a first year MLIS student with an in digital asset management and knowledge organization. I’ve been able to pursue my interest as a student assistant working with the UW Libraries, and am currently looking for internships for June – September 2019. Could you tell me about some of the projects your interns have been able to work on?”
The goal is not to reiterate everything on your resume, but instead engage the employer and open dialogue. Practice your intro beforehand until it sounds conversational. If you need help developing your intro, feel free to schedule an appointment with a career adviser.
#2: MAKE A PLAN
A career fair will be filled with organizations of interest to you, and you may have a hard time deciding who to approach first. Make a ranked list of the companies you want to talk to and start at the bottom of your list. That way you can practice your introduction when the stakes are low.
When planning who you’ll talk to, keep in mind that lines for popular employers can get long. At last year’s fair during peak times, students waited up to 45 minutes to talk with recruiters at a couple companies. Wait times will be less during the iSchool-only hour at the start of the fair, but it’s something to consider in your planning.
If your schedule allows, take breaks! For the introverted among us, stepping back from the noisiness of crowded rooms will provide a crucial chance to recharge.
#3: CUSTOMIZE YOUR RESUME
Make sure your resume is updated with your most recent jobs and internships, class projects, volunteer experiences, etc. Career fairs present a unique challenge in preparing your resume because you’ll be handing it to variety of employers, each with different hiring needs and methods of evaluation. Creating multiple different versions of your resume, tailored to specific companies, can help your applicant profile stand out.
If you download the iSchool Career Fair app (available on iOS and Android), you’ll be able to see organization overviews and hiring needs provided by the recruiters. Use this information to adapt your resume.
#4: RESEARCH ORGANIZATIONS IN ADVANCE
You’ll want to enter the fair with already knowing a little about the employers you want to talk to. Some starting points when researching a company:
- Purpose of the organization — what, exactly, do they do?
- Mission statement, vision, and values
- Reputation (Glassdoor and Blind are some good options)
- Organizational initiatives
- Recent news
- Company social media accounts
By researching the organizations, you’ll be able to tailor your introduction and your resume. Researching will also allow you to have a more substantive conversation with the recruiter, transitioning from your introduction into more detailed topics. Finally, doing research beforehand reflects strong work ethic. No one can force you to study up beforehand, and those who do demonstrate their willingness to take initiative — a quality sought universally by employers.
#5: FOLLOW UP AFTER THE FAIR
As you’re expanding your network of professional contacts at the career fair, you’ll find that some conversations go better than others. If there’s a recruiter you feel particularly connected to, or an opportunity that sparks your interest, ask if you can get a business card. Make sure to thank the employer for their time as well.
Follow up on any potential leads within 48 hours. The note can restate your interest or summarize your relevant qualifications if you discussed a particular position. Try to reference specific parts of your conversation. Not only will that help jog the recruiter’s memory, it’ll also show that you’re not just sending a generic note to everyone you saw at the fair — that your interest in that organization is genuine.
As always, if you need any extra help preparing for the fair, please schedule an appointment through iCareers with Julie or Caitlin.
iSchool: More info and registration via iCareers
- Feb 1: 2020 Women in Science & Engineering (WiSE) Conference; 8:30 – 3:30pm, HUB
- Feb 4: How to Leverage Skills from a Different Field-Alumni Panel; 6:00 – 7:00pm, Online via Zoom
We will be hosting a Zoom alumni panel featuring iSchool alumni who made a career change into or from the tech industry. They will be sharing their experiences in making the transition and how they leveraged their skills into their current career. Please RSVP through iCareers to receive the Zoom link.
- Feb 3: iSchool Career Fair; 12:30 – 2:30pm (iSchool Student only), 2:30 – 4:30pm (all students and alumni welcome), Hub Ballroom
- Feb 7: Library Expo; 12:30 – 2:30pm, Odegaard Library Room 220
- Feb 10: Informatics Reddit AMA; 8:00 – 5:00pm, online
- Feb 10: How to Get Hired in LIS — A Hiring Manager Panel Presented by ALISS & iYouth; 5:00 – 6:30pm, Online via Zoom
ALISS & iYouth present “How to Get Hired in LIS,” a tell-all panel of hiring managers with diverse library experiences. This event will be a great follow-up to the Library Expo! The first portion of the panel will be moderated, asking panelists everything about hiring from application to interviews to offer acceptance. The second portion of the event will be a student-led Q&A. This event will take place exclusively online via Zoom, and a recording will be made available after the event. To ensure you get a copy of the recording and to let us know questions for panelists in advance, please RSVP at https://tinyurl.com/hiringpanelRSVP. Look for more information, including panelist bios and a Zoom room link, in the next week or so.
UW Career Workshops and Employer Events
- Feb 13: UW-Seattle 2020 Winter Job & Internship Fair; 1pm – 5pm, Hub Ballrooms
- Feb 21: Diversity Leadership Conference 2020: The Personal is Political; 3pm – 7pm, ECC
Positions for Consideration
How will you lead? Apply to the 2020 corps today or sign up to meet with a UW recruiter.
NEXT Application Deadline: Friday, January 31, 2020
All majors accepted. Full salary and benefits. 60,000+ alumni network
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Questions or feedback? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org | iCareers