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Tips for navigating Career Conference

Career Conference can be a bit overwhelming for students attending it for the first time. After all, over 140 companies are coming to campus this fall. Here are some tips from the College of Business faculty to help you prepare.

"RESEARCH FOR RESULTS -- find out ahead of time which companies will be represented and do your homework. Review the company websites, the positions they currently have open, and news related to them, their competitors, and their industry. Consider making a cheat sheet to bring with you that outlines the results of your research.  Caveat: What if there’s a company you didn’t expect? Cruise by the table, pick up literature and then read it (of course, out of view)." 
Dr. Kran Dugar, Management & Marketing

"Know which companies are your top picks so you can make a point not to miss them.  Take time the night prior to find out more about those companies and the types of positions they are looking for. It is important to show enthusiasm and prove that you have what it takes to do well in the specific role they are hiring for.  On the flip side of that, take some time to find a few new companies that you have never heard of and find out about the roles that they are hiring for also.  Good to not make to many assumptions and keep an open mind because never know what amazing opportunities might be around the corner."
Jess Gardner, Management & Marketing

"My number 1 tip for Career Conference is to go! Underclassmen or students not currently feeling the need for employment often tell me they’ll go when it matters, but this is the entirely wrong approach because the last thing these students will want is to be trying to figure out how to navigate the loud, crowded, circus-like atmosphere when it does matter. They need to get familiar with the venue before it matters so they can do their best work when it does matter. The idea that they’ll go once must be replaced with the idea to go to every one.

My number 2 tip is to ask lots of questions. Show your résumé to anyone who’ll consent to look at it; get feedback on it; find out which companies don’t want/need your major and which do. Say things out loud that you’re not sure will fly, and if they don’t then rephrase them and try again. Practice. Make friends with the recruiters; many of them will be back when you’re really looking, and a relationship with them can determine success."
Dr. Tom Hilton, Information Systems

"Even if you are not planning to apply for an internship or permanent position, you can still benefit from the Career Conference.

Dress up, walk around, and become an active observer/listener. Notice what type of information is available, which companies are represented, and how your peers approach the recruiters. Next semester or fall when you are ready to interview, you will feel much less intimated because you have already been in the room and felt the pulse of the conference."
Cindy Hofacker, Business Communication

"Don't walk into the Career Conference unprepared. Failing to plan is a plan to fail. Do your research ahead of time on the companies attending that fit with your career interest.  Once you have formulated your list and learned about each company and opportunity offered give them a ranking.  Allot your time per visit accordingly based on how many companies that are on your list.  Start with the bottom company in your rankings and work your way up the list. By the time you get to visit with the company at the top of your list you will be well practiced and confident in your delivery. If you make a great first impression during your visits don't be surprised if they try to schedule and interview with you.  If the person you are speaking with starts to make notes on your resume that is also a good sign they have interest.

Collect business cards from the people you speak with and take notes on each company along the way so you can compare companies after all your visits.  Finally, within 24 hours follow up with a short email to the person you spoke with that has a unique message about your visit."
Jerry Kollross, Management & Marketing

"Push yourself outside of your comfort zone.  Talk to employers.  Discuss opportunities.  Even if it isn't a company you originally pictured yourself working for.  Research companies in advance."
Dr. Kristy Lauver, Management & Marketing

"Be proactive in meeting employers even if they aren’t advertising an opening in your field.  If they meet you and come away impressed, they may create a position for you."
Dr. Scott Lester, Management & Marketing

"Polish up your resume and try to fit it on one page so you can confidently hand it to a recruiter without worrying about a second page, staples, etc. Practice your introduction and make sure that you leave the listener with three specific things they can remember about you. Wear a smile! Don't stress too much!"
Dr. Marcy Leasum Orwig, Business Communication

"Treat career conference with the respect it deserves. Give it the same preparation time you put into a mid-term or final exam.

  1. Think about what are you trying to accomplish at the Career Conference? Is it networking, information gathering, finding an internship, or landing a job?
  2. Use Handshake to research what companies will be attending. If you’re looking for an internship or job, do you have a preference where you’d like to be geographically? Based on your major, what types of companies fit the type of culture you’re looking for?
  3. Once you’ve narrowed your search a bit, then look at the different types of positions offered. Based on the descriptions, are you qualified and do the opportunities match what you’re interested in learning more about?
  4. Do further research on the companies you’re most interested in.
  5. Come prepared on the day of the event. Wear business professional dress, bring an updated and polished resume, put your cell phone away, and remember to be yourself. Have conversations with the recruiters, not memorized speeches with information about yourself.
  6. Ask for help if you need it. Please feel free to ask anyone from Career Services or me any questions you may have. We’re there for you!" 

Tiffany Weiss, COB Professional Services Coordinator