(Photo by David Bendezu)
It’s February, which means longer days, the scent of springtime in the air, and — of course — the scramble to find a summer internship. On Feb. 14, NJIT hosted its Spring 2023 career fair. For future semesters, here is some advice that may help land you a dream job.
DO go early! Being at the career fair early on means that you’ll avoid the rush and potentially get to have a better one-on-one conversation with the recruiter. Going immediately also shows your enthusiasm and gives you more time to network with every company.
DON’T be afraid to ask questions. Of course, this doesn’t mean questions like ‘What does your company do?’ but rather those that delve a little deeper into what they’re looking for and the future direction of the company. This shows that you have done your research and can voice any queries.
DO prepare answers to prompts such as ‘Tell me about yourself’ or ‘What are your strengths and weaknesses?’ Although you might not know the specific questions that the company might ask you, you should be able to confidently deliver answers to more generic questions like these. In general, treat this as practice for an interview; questions like these will almost certainly come up in a formal job interview.
DON’T dress casually. When you enter the doors of the career fair, you are no longer a student, but rather a potential employee or member of the team. Therefore, you want to look and act professional; not only does this reflect your maturity, but also that you have taken time and effort to be as polished as possible.
DO try and talk to recruiters from different companies, even those that weren’t on your radar or who are hiring for positions that differ from your goals. Networking with these recruiters may get you an ‘in’ for an opportunity that is not presented there. Additionally, it never hurts to ask around if they know of anyone looking for a candidate like you.
DON’T go just for the free items. Listen, I like emblazoned stress balls and lanyards just as much as you do, but treat this event as an opportunity to make a personal connection and possibly score an interview. If you make it clear that you don’t care what the company is searching for, why would the recruiter be interested?
DON’T say anything negative about NJIT, your classes, or previous employers. This one is a little self-explanatory, but from the recruiter’s perspective, if you’re willing to complain about your life to someone you just met, what’s to stop you from saying something negative about this company, too? In general, try to keep it positive and bring the conversation back to your experience and strengths.
DO your research! The career fair will be so much more interesting and productive if you know a little bit about each company and what their strengths are. Not only will you be able to narrow down where you plan to spend the most time, but it will make you a memorable candidate who knows about the position and asks interesting questions.
DON’T spend too much time at one booth. This might seem counterintuitive, but you want your pitch and conversation to be memorable and short. If the recruiter wants some other piece of information, they can ask you; otherwise, you might be the cause of a backed-up line and frustrated recruiter.
Of course, the most important part of attending a career fair is to present the authentic you, just in the best light that you can. There will always be uninterested recruiters or openings that you don’t quite fit. Ideally, however, following these tips will minimize such interactions. Good luck!
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