Each year thousands of Terps and hundreds of employers collide at the largest career and internship fair of the year. The Career & Internship Fair hosts recruiters from a vast array of organizations looking to hire for full, part-time, internship and co-op positions in both tech and non-tech industries. Students have the chance to put their best foot forward and create lasting impressions on the very recruiters who will look over the online applications in the coming weeks.
With such a huge turnout of intelligent, ambitious and talented Terps, how can your Terp stand apart from the rest?
1. Dress the part.
You would think it obvious, but one of the easiest ways to stand out is an ironed, fitted, fair-appropriate outfit. Employers look for business professional attire at the fair, even if that is not the standard in their workplace. This shows students are in a professional mindset and came prepared. We offer students examples of what to wear on our Pinterest page.
2. Research employers beforehand.
Students should not just know which employers they plan on visiting, but what types of positions that employer is looking to hire, what the company does, and a little about their current projects. Walking up to an employer to ask what they do is a surefire way to show how unprepared you are. The best way to find out which employers are coming and kick off the research process? Download the fair app.
3. Attend fair prep events.
The University Career Center & The President's Promise doesn’t just hold a fair and expect students to come, 100% prepared on their own. The Center offers many workshops and resume critique opportunities leading up the fair to help Terps get their resumes and interviewing skills in order. A list of workshops can be found on our online calendar as well as printed and posted across campus.
4. Remember all the essentials.
Students should come to the fair with at least one pen, several copies of their resume (# of employers they plan to visit and a few extra), and as few bags as possible. We also suggest bringing a portfolio or folder to hold resumes and any handouts one receives at the fair. A notebook is also helpful for taking notes, though a phone can also be used for this. Downloading the app prior to attending the fair will also prevent students from experiencing tech troubles at the door.
5. Bring questions.
By preparing some questions about the workplace culture or future goals for the company or open position, a student will appear much more knowledgeable and interested.
6. Remember online applications are required.
Often students get discouraged after a great conversation with a recruiter because the recruiter tells them to apply online. No one wants to feel like their name is lost in a sea of other hopefuls. Remind your student that it is often protocol to have students apply online, but recruiters take down names of memorable students. When applications come rolling in, they have a list of names they’re looking for first.
With these helpful tips, your student should be well on their way to getting the opportunity they want. Even as a first year student, remind your Terp to CAREER the Turtle…because SUCCESS starts here!
For more information and to learn more about the University Career Center & The President's Promise, visit www.Careers.umd.edu. You can also contact the Center directly at 301.314.7225 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo of students at the 2013 Fall Career & Internship Fair by Michelle Lopez-Mullins.