Start Early and Set Yourself Apart: An Interview With an NU Alum

Jay Lu received his BSBA in Accounting and Marketing in May 2014 and MS in Accounting this past August, 2014. During his time at NU, he held numerous positions both on and off campus and internationally. Jay successfully completed three separate co-ops at large multinational companies with experience in audit and assurance, tax and operations. Jay recently completed the CPA exam and his currently working in audit and assurance at a CPA firm. In his spare time, he enjoys volunteering, reading and sports. To learn more about his professional background- check out his LinkedIn profile.

When did you first come to the Career Development office?

It was for the Career Fair, freshmen year.

Why go to a career fair? Most freshmen would wait until later for this.

I had no risk.  I didn’t feel pressured.  I didn’t need anything out of it.  I wanted the practice of the experience. It’s kind of like a festival, with everyone dressed up.  It can be a fun event when there isn’t pressure.  I didn’t have a suit back then.  But I went in and just talked with a couple of recruiters.  At this point I didn’t have a resume.  But later on I learned how to create a resume, and how to make a good impression.

What else did you do early on?

Early on I went for an appointment about career direction.  I wasn’t sure how to explore my options.  Through my career counselor I learned about informational interviews.  In fact I even did one for an RA position.  Ended up getting the job because I was more prepared and had someone recommending me from the info interview.  I also got into LinkedIn early on.

From these early experiences, what do you recommend that students do in their 1st or 2nd year?

Don’t think that just because it’s your first year that you have all the time in the world.  You’ll be graduating in a flash.  When you start early, you’ll be ahead for when you need it. When there is less pressure, when you don’t need a job yet, get advice then.

How can students have an impact on potential employers?

A lot of employers want to know if you want them.  It’s not just about your skills.  To stand out, make a good impression early on with them. Be genuinely interested in the field, which should be a natural feeling if you chose a major you are passionate about. Have people warm up to you, and your personal brand early on, even if you might not be fully certain what that is yet.  The idea here is to build your network before you need it.  Things get a lot more competitive, when you are a senior.  Everyone is going after these connections.  By starting early you can set yourself apart. They will be impressed that you are being so proactive.  Another point is that there is more leeway if you mess up, employers will more likely overlook this when you are younger.

How can students make more employer connections?

Go to career services and alumni events.  Do these while you are still on campus.  Once you graduate, it’s harder to fit these in.  Also, the further along you get in college, there are more expectations put on you (from recruiters, parents, peers), compared with when you are in your 1st or 2nd year.

What can you gain from this early networking?

When you chat with recruiters, they might open you up to other career paths that you didn’t know about or hadn’t thought of.  The more exposure and more conversations, the better.  You can never know what you’re going to do, exactly, but you can learn more early on to help.  It’s great if you can find out sooner what you might value in a career, while you can still make changes to your academic or co-op path.  You might save yourself time and heartache.  The more people you talk to, the more confident you’ll be with your choices.  You want to find those people that are in your potential career path, since they’ve already been there and you can learn from them.  Would you want to be in their shoes? Talking to them gives you a chance to find out.

During your senior year, how did you approach your job search?

I didn’t have too much trouble.  I had already been to 3 or 4 career fairs, and I already had quite a few connections from co-ops and various other events. If you have done everything early on, at this point it should be a relaxing year. At my last career fair, I received an interview call in less than an hour after the fair ended.

How do you maintain your network?

Always follow up after any professional encounter. Send a thank-you note after meeting someone at a campus event or any professional encounter.  For example, after attending the Global Careers Forum I sent an email to one of the guest speakers saying thank you.  I didn’t ask for anything in that moment. It might come later. Northeastern makes sending thank-you letters after co-op interviews almost religious, I try to use this same mindset. I always like to think of the story of one interviewee’s thank-you letter being a PowerPoint that showed how he would tackle a current problem facing the company. Now that’s hitting the ground running!

Is there anything you wished you’d known sooner?

Don’t take your professors for granted.  They can be some of the best resources.  They are there for you, and they want to help you.  I made a habit of seeing my professors every semester, even just to chat with them (while you are in the course and sometimes even after).  One professor sent me details about an internship that had been sent in by an alum.  I was given the details about this opportunity because the professor knew me well, and he had confidence in me. In addition, if I had more time, I would’ve joined more organizations that were related to my major.

Anyone you stay in touch with?

One of my accounting professors I went to see a lot.  He had great industry advice about how to get started, he recommended good organizations, and even suggested events to attend.  I sent follow up messages to thank him and to let him know I attended the events he had mentioned, I also shared some information that I thought would be useful for his current students.  It’s important to let people know that you followed their advice, and if you have something you can share, then include it.

What’s your finally advice to students, especially when it comes to networking?

Start early and don’t stop.

5 Questions to Prepare for Career Fair

image source:

I had the opportunity to speak with Neil Brennan of Meltwater recently about campus recruiting and career fairs. In five quick questions, he nailed down the best (and worst) things you can do at a career fair.

Without further ado, here they are…

1. What types of skills and qualifications do you look for in new graduates?

Well, we’re not really looking for specific degree discipline. We’re looking for people who have graduated top of their class. They typically are also active and involved in other things besides just their studies. Our graduates who come on board have some leadership experience as well. Whether it was a captain of their team or in charge of their sorority.

2. If you had one piece of advice for a student navigating the fair- what would it be?

I think that if a student is attending a career fair, they should want to make an impression when they talk to an employer. There are those who go there to extract information and those who go there to make a strong impression. If I could give advice, it would be to go there and do both. They should really be aware of the fact that they should leave the employer with the strongest impression of themselves

3. What is a Career Fair “no-no”?

If you want to work at a company where you would wear a suit to work everyday, go to the career fair wearing a suit. We are looking for students to dress to impress

4. What do you recommend students bring to the career fair?

Definitely recommend bringing a cover letter if possible as well. We’ll accept resumes, cover letters. For strong candidates we use those later on if they reach out to apply for a position.

Bring a level of research with you. When you do approach and have a conversation with the employer, it’s very obvious you know about the company even if you may have questions still. That will go a long way to make you stand out.

Bring a general level of interest. One mistake is a candidate can make is standing there and expecting the employer to impress them. Bring energy, enthusiasm, and questions.

5. How does a student stand out from the crowd?

One simple piece of advice, obviously almost like a cliche, but first impressions do count. Go up there, make an impression, say hello, shake their hand firmly, and start a discussion rather than hanging back and waiting for the employer to approach you.

Liberty Mutual Talks: Standing Out at a Career Fair

Spring 2014 Career FairThis guest post was written by Lee Ann Chan, an Undergraduate Campus Recruiter for Liberty Mutual Insurance.

With so many employers at a Career Fair, it is extremely important to plan your strategy and make sure you leave a great impression.  How can you accomplish that and stand out from other candidates?  Here are some tips to help you prepare:

  • Do your research. Choose your top 5-10 companies that you would like to speak with and understand what their mission is and what they are looking for.  Additional information to research would include: products/services, competition, history/vision, size, office locations, industry trends, job opportunities.  You can find most of the information on the company’s website, Career Services, newspaper articles, Monster, GlassDoor, LinkedIn, etc.
  • Review your resume. Make sure your resume is updated, and if you know of a specific job that you wish to apply to, adapt your resume to that position, if possible.  Use keywords mentioned in job descriptions to tailor your resume.  Bring at least ten copies of your resume because you never know how many people you would be speaking with.
  • Prepare your elevator pitch. You have limited time to talk to employers so make the most of it and include the following in your pitch: full name, year, major; example of a skill or accomplishment you have related to the position you are seeking; reason(s) why you are interested in the company/position/industry and what you would like to learn; and questions you may have about the company or job that could not be answered in your research.
  • Be respectful. If there is a line behind you while you are speaking to an employer, make sure to keep the conversation to five minutes or less.  This will also give the employer sufficient time to meet with other candidates, and you can follow up afterwards with a thank you note, reiterating the conversation you had with the employer so that s/he remembers you from the Career Fair.

Remember, this is your time to shine so focus on your strengths and be enthusiastic about approaching the employers.  Best of luck!

Lee Ann Chan is an Undergraduate Campus Recruiter at Liberty Mutual Insurance recruiting for Corporate Programs.  She previously served as a Campus Recruiter with the government and is currently the Co-Director of Collegiate Relations with the National Association of Asian American Professionals.  Her hobbies include career coaching, baking, hiking, and singing.

5 Things to Know As an International Student Attending the Career Fair (And Maybe As a Domestic Student Too)

The Fall Northeastern Career Fair on October 2 is a new experience for many international students (and for domestic students as well).  For some people, the concept of “new” is exciting. For others, “new” is intimidating and can feel uncomfortable.  It’s important to note that being uncomfortable is okay– it’s an indication that you are probably encountering a situation that will contribute to your personal growth. A great way to eliminate some pre-career fair jitters is to prepare as much as possible.  Here are the five things that you should know as an international student attending the Career Fair:

Northeastern Career Fair

Northeastern Career Fair

1.) General Logistics—The Career Fair this year will have over 250 employers with companies like Microsoft , Mathworks, and Akamai Technologies in attendance and will take place from 12-4PM in the Cabot Cage and Solomon Court. Furthermore, there were over 2500 students in attendance last year, and we’re expecting the same attendance for this year.  This means that the career fair will be CROWDED! And lines, especially for very popular companies like Microsoft, will be many people long.  What does this mean for you? Come to the career fair sooner rather than later and come prepared with a list of companies that you want to speak with.  If you don’t, you may be shut out from speaking with an employer or you may feel too overwhelmed to speak to anyone.

2.) Do Your Research on Companies Open to Hiring International Students-The list of organizations attending the career fair is here. Also make sure to download the 2014 Career Fair brochure–there will be no hard copies of the brochure at the fair.  The brochure includes a map of the employer table numbers and where they’re located, and also includes a list of employers who have indicated that they are open to hiring international students.  Be sure to become familiar with that list!  Also do some general research on the company.  The company website, Hoovers, Glassdoor, and Linkedin are all great resources to use when researching.

3.) Prepare Your Pitch— When I was an undergraduate student, I did not go to any of the career fairs my university held (ironic, right?). This was because I was uncomfortable with what to say to an employer and I didn’t know what to do when I got there.  Make sure you practice your pitch, or your thirty second commercial about yourself.  This “pitch” would be an appropriate answer to the nebulous “Tell me about yourself” question, or can give the employer a general understanding of your background and what caused you to be interested in their company.  Appropriate information for the pitch would be your name, major, skills, background, and interest in either the company/position.  To make a great impression, be sure to let them know that you’ve done research on their company by asking intelligent questions. The key here is to be able to ask them other questions besides “What does your company do?”.  That’s not going to impress anyone!  And don’t forget to practice, practice, practice!

4.) Dress Appropriately- Many people feel unsure about what to wear for the fair. A black, grey, brown (neutral) suit and tie is appropriate for males and a skirt suit or pants suit with sensible heels is appropriate for females.  Be sure to not wear too much cologne or perfume, or to wear any flashy jewelry or makeup.  You want them to be listening to what you SAY, not what you look or smell like.

5.) Conduct Yourself Professionally at the Career Fair—This means respecting employers and their time by keeping discussions brief and not keeping them after 4PM. No one leaves the Career Fair with a job, so your main goal is to make an impression and receive a business card to follow-up with them later.  Also, do not bring food/drinks into the Career Fair–they are not permitted and it makes it difficult to shake hands with employers.  Lastly, don’t go “shopping” at the fair.  I know many employers come with cool little gadgets, but don’t make those freebies your main focus for attending the career fair!

Remember, the more prepared you are for the fair, the better you equip yourself to navigate it successfully.  Also, don’t forget to check out our Career Fair Success Tips Panel on September 30th. Representatives from Gorton’s, Liberty Mutual, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Constant Contact will tell you exactly what they like to see from students at Career Fairs.  Remember, no matter what happens, the career fair is a great experience that can prepare you for the job search process and networking after graduation. Enjoy it!

Ashley LoBue is an Assistant Director at Northeastern Career Development.  A Boston College graduate, Ashley has over 4 years of experience working in higher education and is a proponent for international and experiential education.  Ashley also enjoys binge-watching HGTV and aspires to be like the Property Brothers, Drew and Jonathan, as a possible secondary career. 

Things To Take Care Of Before You Apply: A To-Do List

30 Rock... full of words of wisdom source:

30 Rock… full of words of wisdom

This article was written by Lindsey Sampson, a 3rd year international affairs student at NU as a regular student contributor for The Works.

Think of a few things that are the worst: missing your train by ten seconds, room-temperature milk, and wearing socks to bed. You know what’s probably worse than that? Missing out on a job even though you are the perfect candidate. Get your business in order, even before you start applying, to avoid those speed bumps that could cost you your dream job.

1. Check yourself out on social media. Google yourself – don’t be shy. Employers are more likely than ever to look you up on Google, Twitter, Facebook, and anywhere else they can find information. It’s your job before application time to spruce up your social media channels and take care of anything that might show you in an unfavorable light. Drunk pictures? That’s not cute.

2. Set up a voicemail message. Remember when ringback tones were awesome? That time has passed. Let go of your I’m-clearly-a-high-school-senior Pitbull ringback tone and record a short, clear voicemail message. Make sure to state your name clearly, and it’s probably best to listen to it a time or two to make sure no one can hear the oven timer going off in the background. A great voicemail message makes you seem more like a human and less like a robot, so get that done.

3. Set up an email signature. Because you’re that kind of official. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy or pretentious – just your name, school name, and maybe cell phone number at the bottom to make it as easy as possible for potential employers to contact you.

4. Start brainstorming interview “moments.” It’s important to be prepared for an interview at any time – an employer might call you the day after you submit an application and schedule an interview with you the next day, and cramming for an interview is a less-than-ideal situation for the nerves. In an interview, it’s important to have “moments,” or quick stories about situations you have encountered or projects you have been involved in that will solidify your position as a qualified candidate. If the position is customer-service oriented, think of a time you exhibited stellar customer service skills and try to incorporate it into your interview if possible. It will give your interview substance and make you a more interesting and memorable candidate.

5. Do your research. It’s obvious when a candidate has done his or her research when the time comes for an interview. Instead of awkwardly fumbling around the company website, check out a few other sources. The company profile on LinkedIn will give you a list of similar companies in the industry (aka. competitors you should know about). The company Twitter will give you a sense of the office culture while providing access to industry-related articles you should probably read. It’s important to be well-read because

You are a capable and qualified candidate who deserves to be gainfully employed (repeat that to yourself a few times in front of the mirror before you head to an interview). You did the legwork, got the relevant experience, and wrote a crazy cover letter. Now it’s time to get your business in order and avoid the stumbling blocks on your way to the interview.

Lindsey Sampson is a middler International Affairs major with minors in Social Entrepreneurship and Writing. She enjoys writing about Millennials in the workplace and social media as a marketing tool. Follow her blog here.

Career Fair Tips from Angela (the bio major)

Career FairThis post was written by Angela Vallillo, senior biology major on the pre-medical track.

Hi all! My name is Angela and I am a senior graduating this year with a degree in biology! I’m graduating early, which is scary and exciting at the same time. It leads me to the issue of finding a job and figuring out what to do with my life in a pretty short amount of time. That being said, a great resource for everyone looking for a job or seeing what’s out there is the Spring Career Fair held by career services on Thursday, February 6th in Cabot Cage from 12PM-4PM. There will be over 150 employers looking for people like you and LinkedIn photo ops!

I hold a work-study job at Career Development (formally Career Services) and have helped organize and run the past two career fairs. That being said, I have a few tips for students planning on attending:

  1. The most important piece of information that I can give you is to research the company before the fair! I repeat: Do your research! Some companies are offering positions for people like you and you might not even know it. A company, such as Liberty Mutual has a stigma of being only for finance and insurance majors, however there are positions open that allow one to market for the company or to manage (I will mention this more later). Also, it essential that your resume stands out to employers. What will make you stand out to the employer representatives is that you know what position you are interested in and can tell them why you’re interested in the position. They receive so many resumes from your peers, that making yourself stand out is essential!
  2. If you’ve been to the career fair before, its no secret that the jobs that many of the employers are looking offering are for engineers, computer scientists, and businessmen/businesswomen. You may be saying to yourself that you don’t fit that criteria, myself included. However, there are a lot of employers that list that they are looking for all majors. As I mentioned before, some companies have a reputation for offering one type of job, however they are looking for other majors for their company. This brings me to my third piece of advice…
  3. What you choose to do for after graduation does not dictate what you will do for the rest of your career! This is a big piece of advice that sometimes I don’t even think about. I eventually want to attend medical school and if I do a job in a different industry that interests me, that will only strengthen my resume more to make me a well rounded individual.

I hope that you find my advice helpful! I also hope to see you at the career fair. Remember to wear your nice suits and ties!

Angela Vallillo is senior biology major on the pre-medical track. Follow her NU admissions blog to read more from Angela.

10 Things not to do at the Northeastern Career Fair on October 3 (in no particular order)

  • Go up to an employer and ask them what they do – The list of companies

    Don’t be this guy – image from

    participating in the career fair can be found on our website You should research companies in advance so you can be prepared when you approach them. You’re more likely to impress employers that way.

  • Walk around holding your girlfriend/boyfriend’s hand – A career fair is a professional event, and is not the place for PDAs (public displays of affection). Do you want the employer to perceive you as an immature college student, or a young professional?
  • Travel with a pack of friends – You may all be looking for a job, but you each need to do your own job search.  Be independent. You don’t want to appear as if you can’t do things on your own.
  • Randomly grab goodies and giveaways from the employer tables – Yes, employers bring the stuff for a reason, but it’s rather tacky to walk up to an employer just for the sake of taking their food/toys, especially if you’re disrupting a conversation in progress.
  • Talk on your cellphone while waiting in employer’s line – Cabot Cage is already crowded and noisy enough. Loud conversations while in line could disrupt the employer’s conversations, and may be interpreted that you’re not really focused on being there.  Reviewing your resume or notes while in line can help give the impression that you’re prepared and thorough.

    What not to wear to the career fair – image from

  • Dress like you’re going to a club, or alternatively, the gym (don’t let the fact it’s in a gym fool you) – It’s possible to be under-dressed or inappropriately dressed for a career fair, but it’s hard to be over-dressed. Stick with a suit and you can’t go wrong.
  • Wear clothes that don’t fit well – This includes clothing that is too big as well as too tight. You don’t want to look sloppy and/or unprofessional.  Make sure you try clothes on in advance to make sure they fit.
  • Ask an employer to “wow” you or convince you that you should want to work for them – While it’s important to determine if a particular company is a good fit for you (not just the other way around), this tactic can put the recruiter on the spot, and can make them feel defensive.  If you move forward with the application process at any particular company, you can use your own research and interview to help you determine if that is, in fact, a company you’d like to work at.
  • Get upset if the employer won’t take your resume – Due to a variety of regulations, some employers will talk to you, but won’t actually take your resume. Some employers will still make notes for themselves about candidates who impressed them, or provide you with more detailed information, so don’t let your frustration keep you from convincingly explaining your qualifications.
  • Expect to leave the career fair with a job – No one leaves a career fair with a job, though some people may leave with interviews. The career fair is an opportunity to make face time with employer contacts, and making a good impression can often carry over into your application process with that company, even if it’s at a later date.

Tina Mello is Associate Director of University Career Services, and has worked at Northeastern for over 10 years. Nicknamed the “information guru” by other members of the staff, she loves to research and read about various job/career/education topics. For more career advice, follow her on twitter @CareerCoachTina.

How To Rock The Career Fair



This article was written by Lindsey Sampson, a 3rd year international affairs student at NU as a regular student contributor for The Works.

Career fairs are all about being remembered. You bring a unique set of skills and knowledge to a company and you deserve to be remembered. A little bit of preparation can go a long way in sticking out among a sea of candidates.

Create An Elevator Pitch: Maybe you’re sick of people telling you to make an elevator pitch (or maybe you’re sick of other, more detestable things like slow walkers and paying back student loans). An elevator pitch is crucial at career fairs, where time is limited and attention spans are short. An elevator pitch allows you to communicate your best self in the shortest amount of time (about the amount of time you spend in an elevator awkwardly clearing your throat and avoiding eye contact with strangers, hence the name). Make sure to include the following:

1. Your name

2. What you are studying/where your skills lie

3. What your background is in, especially if it’s different from your major

4. What you are interested in

5. A tidbit about the company. This shows that you know the company and you did your research. Employers don’t want to waste their time, and this lets them know that you came prepared because that’s just how great you are.

Resumes: Speaking of coming prepared, let’s talk resumes. Don’t bring one. Don’t bring five. Bring at least fifteen, depending on the size of the fair and the number of companies you are interested in (you should look at the list of participating companies beforehand).

talk about unique Source:

talk about unique

Make Yourself Memorable: Once you have an employer’s attention, make your conversation memorable, but don’t draw it out. A short but interesting conversation is more likely to stick out in an employer’s head than a long but fruitless conversation. You don’t have to mention every interesting thing you’ve ever done, but mention at least one thing they can remember about you — where your last co-op was, an interesting class you took last semester. Maybe start with “last summer I completed an internship in customer relations and communications and I taught myself basic HTML.” This can be part of your elevator pitch. You are different and super interesting, so give employers a glimpse into how awesome you are.

Get A Business Card: It’s like getting a rose on The Bachelor – it’s the whole point. Getting a business card from a potential employer is your ticket forward in the hiring process for this company. Be sure to send a quick email after the fair (preferably that same evening or the morning after) to follow up and restate your enthusiasm for the company. Avoid sending a vague, fill-in-the-blank email – zero people will remember who you are if they get an email saying, “I loved meeting you last night.” Employers will only remember you if you make them remember you. Mention something you talked about during the fair (this will be helpful if you followed Tip #3 – just saying).

Provide Value: Another quick tip about follow-up emails. It’s important to provide value so employers don’t feel they’re doing you such a favor. Send along an article you read this morning: “It was great talking to you yesterday about how your new company blog. I read this article today about the growing importance of content marketing in your industry and thought you might find it interesting.”

Remember: Employers aren’t at career fairs to judge you. They are there to recognize talent and attract great candidates. So don’t worry if your first conversation isn’t perfect – start by talking to your “B list” to get warmed up then by the end of the night you will be talking to your dream company like a pro.


Getting the Inside Scoop: Career Fair Success

Brenda Marte is a dual major in Marketing and Finance in the D’Amore-McKim school of business, and plans to pursue a Master’s in Computer Science. She studied abroad in Spain, which has motivated her to pursue her next co-op abroad as well, specifically in Latin America.

Co-op allows undergrads the unique opportunity to immerse themselves in a company, and learn what a future position within that firm holds.  I am currently a middler at Northeastern University and doing a co-op within campus recruitment in University Relations at Liberty Mutual Insurance. Working in campus recruitment and engaging with campus recruiters gives me great insight into what campus recruiters and employers like Liberty Mutual expect from students.

Since I’ve been able to get an inside scoop from the recruiters’ perspective, I want to share some do’s and don’ts for attending the Northeastern Career Fair October 3, 2013. Here are few tips and suggestions to keep in mind when meeting a potential employer:

1. Preparing to Prepare

Recruiters arrive at career fairs expecting students to be interested in learning more about their firm and be prepared with questions to learn more about the company and/or the candidate selection process.

High school hasn't prepared you for career climb

Prior to arriving at the fair, aim to “wow” a targeted set of employers, rather than going in blind with 50 (or 200, which is usually the case at Northeastern fairs) tables of recruiters to shake hands with.  Arrive having researched the firm, programs you wish to participate in, and their career and internship opportunities. This shows your intent to make a good and long-lasting impression within a sea of students. Having a game plan before attending the fair, can be the difference between getting in the “do contact” and the “don’t contact” pile of resumes.

2. First Impression Jitters

I can relate to the nerves you feel when first meeting a recruiters. So, to assure that you are relaxed when networking at a career fair, make sure that you are:

  • The Whole Package: Do dress comfortably and professionally, and be ready to impress; don’t let your attire negatively distract from your experience and accomplishments – but add your personality in your ensemble.
  • Organized: Make sure you do have a resume ready for distribution when asked, don’t fumble through a folder of disorganized materials.
  • Cohesive Throughout: Do create mental bullet points of potential talking points, from what the recruiter is describing to you. Don’t appear that your only mission is to have them take your resume and pick up some promotional giveaways. Instead, demonstrate interest and curiosity.

3. A Conversation About Conversation

At my co-op, I’ve had the privilege to work with campus recruiters that are extremely accommodating and easy to talk to. I feel comfortable speaking about my future career aspirations. At career fairs, many recruiters will try to make the exchange conversational. Don’t forget the career fair is not a social event. What you say and how you portray yourself reflects on the recruiters’ determination of whether you will fit within their organization.

Keeping the conversation short and to the point is always a plus because you aren’t the only student recruiters have to speak with.  A short outline can help you stay on topic and assures that you do not extend your 30-second pitch into a 30-minute life story. Prepare a concise story that shows what kind of student and potential employee you can be for the firm.

Make sure to end your conversation with a proper and professional goodbye. It often becomes very hectic at career fairs, and recruiters may become sidetracked by distractions. Wait patiently and acknowledge how busy they are. End with a thankful handshake and the possibility to speak to them one on one in the future. Doing so will leave a good last impression.

career fair cartoon

Employers attend career fairs with the intention of branding their company and meeting potential candidates to fill their jobs. They want to hear the story beyond your resume. Networking with employers increases your chance to work with the firm as a co-op or full time employee. The opportunities these recruiters bring on campus are endless – as students it’s our job to attend and discover what those opportunities are. Career fairs can be overwhelming, but with preparation, you may walk away with a new professional connection, knowledge of career opportunities, and even the potential to interview for a job.   Armed with these insider tips from campus recruiters, you will no doubt be on your way to career fair success.

PwC’s Top 5 Tips to Career Fair Success

Killing it at the Career Fair!

Killing it at the Career Fair!

This guest post was written by Gillian Orsburn, a Campus Recruiter for PwC and frequent Career Fair attendee.

As a Northeastern student, words like “career,” “co-op,” and “networking” likely make their way into your daily conversations.  While planning the next phase of your professional life can be exciting, sometimes the sheer quantity of events and opportunities can seem overwhelming.  With Northeastern’s Career Fair coming up on Thursday, October 3rd here are some tips to help narrow down the options and stand out amongst the competition:

  1. Do the research. You don’t just wake up one day and say, “I think I’d like to work at so and so” and land the internship. You need to make sure you devote the appropriate time and effort to getting to know the companies you are interested in and understanding your options.  Talk to your friends, family, career advisors, upper-classmen and faculty to learn more about the industries and firms you’d be best suited for.  Doing research will not only help you leave a good impression but also help you pursue a good fit.
  1. Find a friend to be your mirror. Ask an honest friend, one who is genuinely interested in your success, to evaluate the first impression you give. At a career fair you should always dress in a professional business suit; have the friend look at the suit front and back, up and down – looking for lint, a tag sticking out, too many buttons unbuttoned, etc – to ensure you are dressed appropriately.  Ask the friend to shake your hand (should be a firm, quick handshake), listen as you say your name (make sure there’s nothing in your teeth and you have fresh breath!), and assess your pitch (should be rehearsed but also specific to how your experiences align with the company needs).
  1. Speaking of your pitch, you will need to know your personal brand. Someone who knows and maximizes their strengths. Someone who contributes a unique and valuable ingredient to their team. When you’re developing yourself at school and seeking to make your next professional move, you must be fully aware of your own unique qualities and demonstrate them consistently in everything you do.  Even though your top strengths are only a few of many facets of your personal brand, they are absolutely vital to reaching your goals. When working on a class project, looking for an internship or pursuing a first job out of school, you need to actively integrate your greatest strengths.
  1. Be prepared to hand over your resume.  All that free stuff given out at company tables can be great…until you no longer have hands for handshakes or the ability to easily find or grasp your resume.  Given the amount of students at each career fair, every second is valuable to a recruiter.  Make sure you have your hands ready and your resume is easily accessible.  Try speaking to all your target companies first, then go around at the end for the free stuff.
  1. Ask good questions and make yourself memorable, but be aware of the line of students behind you.  Make sure you show off your main skills and experience and ask your burning questions, but remember there are students behind you who want to do the same.  Take a few short minutes with the recruiting team, then ask for a business card to follow up later in the week with any additional information or questions.

For more tips on starting on your personal brand journey as you get ready to launch your career, participate in PwC’s personal brand experience by visiting our website at 


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