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:
- 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.
- 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).
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 www.pwc.com/us/personalbrand
PwC (www.pwc.com) provides industry-focused assurance, tax, and advisory services to build public trust and enhance value for its clients and their stakeholders. More than 169,000 people in 158 countries across our network share their thinking, experience, and solutions to develop fresh perspectives and practical advice.