John Carroll’s Annual Career Fair is coming up in under a week. This opportunity is really fantastic, and can only serve to help us collegiettes as we hunt for jobs and internships that will help us have a brighter future. It’s important to keep in mind that this career fair is open to everyone, not just seniors – you can find great internships and temporary or seasonal work, too! Of course, this does beg the question: are you prepared to make a good impression on potential employers? Read on for a few tips on how to put your best (professional) foot forward!
1. Create an “Elevator Speech”
An elevator speech is a 30-60 second speech during which you emphasize things that are important in a job search. According to the JCU Career Center, a good elevator speech should include your name, year, major, career goals, relevant skills, and prior experience. If you really want to stick out, try finding a way to include knowledge of the specific company. It’s even suggested to practice giving the speech in the mirror, or finding a friend that doesn’t mind being used as a guinea pig. If those options don’t cut it, the Career Center has a great tool called InterviewStream that you can access from the Career Connection page. This option allows you to videotape yourself and play it back so that you can see where you need to improve.
2. Research the companies
This year’s career fair has 133 employers registered to attend. While that’s a few too many to research, pick a few that you’re particularly interested in and get to know more about them. What kind of work do they do? Where are they located? What kinds of job opportunities are available? A recent tip of the day sent out by the JCU Career Center said that knowing that type of information is important to know. That way, when you ask questions to the recruiters, they can be more than basic information. This technique will make you look responsible and interested in the company.
3. Come up with a list of questions
Of course, there are always things that are important to ask when talking to someone about a potential job. According to a US News and World Reports article called “The Best Questions to Ask During a Job Interview,” asking about the skills set that would best succeed at the job, what the best part of working for the particular company is, what some challenges might be for the person that takes the job, how management works in the company, and what the culture of the workplace is like. That way, you get an idea as to whether your skills and personality are a good match.
4. Get your resume in shape
If you didn’t attend Resumania at JCU, you still have a chance to make sure your resume is as professional as possible. The career center has a great document online to help you craft the perfect resume. A few tips? Keep it short. One page is all that is needed. Make sure that your information is easy to find under simple and obvious headings. Also, use action verbs to describe the tasks you had to perform at your previous job or internship – they’ll make your skills stand out.
5. Look professional
While a hot pink suit may work for Elle Woods in Legally Blonde, it’s not going to make a great impression at this career fair. Try wearing a suit with a conservative top or blouse underneath, a conservative dress, or a nice skirt and blouse. Another suggestion is to keep jewelry minimal – pearls and stud earrings are usually best. In terms of makeup, try keeping it neutral with a basic eye, nice pink blush, and a nude or pale pink lip. Finally, make sure that if you’re wearing nail polish, it’s not chipped or a funky color like neon green. Again, neutrals are your best bet. A great rose gold color, nude, or pale pink is probably your safest option.
Best of luck, collegiettes! May the (job hunting) odds be ever in your favor!
Photo Credit: JCU’s Career Fair page, Allison’s own Polyvore set.