Resumé paper? Check. Business attire? Check. Firm handshake and smile? Check. That’s right folks, it’s time to go to the Winter Career and Internship Fair! The career and internship fairs, whether it be fall or spring, are always a little bit daunting for me. What if I say the wrong thing? What if I talk too much? How will I know if I am what they are looking for? With hundreds of companies lined up table after table, how do I even begin to start this journey through a sea of students who are dressed and ready to impress? With two years of surviving the fairs under my belt, you would think that I have everything figured out; but in reality, when do college students really know what they are doing? As I prepare though, I remind myself of some tips that I’ve learned along the way. I think you’ll find them useful too when you attend the career and internship fairs as a Notre Dame student!
1. GO TO THE CAREER CENTER
The best advice I can give to perfect your resumé or mock interviews is to go to the Career Center. The staff members are awesome, and they know exactly how to help you. During my very first visit to the Career Center, I took my resumé and cover letter to be reviewed. I sat down with an advisor who went over them, making changes such as which information to put higher up or how to properly format my resumé to take up as little space as possible. They also gave me a handbook to show me different versions of resumes and cover letters that also work very well. They also do mock interviews. Although I have never done a mock interview, I know that they act like an employer you are interested in and ask you questions that you might be asked during an interview. Once the interview is over, they go over what you did well and what you might need to work on. This is especially helpful if it is your first time interviewing.
2. RESEARCH THE COMPANIES THAT ARE GOING TO BE AT THE FAIR
There are hundreds of companies that come to this internship fair. To make it easier on students, the Career Center compiles a list on GoIrish- the website reserved for Notre Dame students (and alumni) to look for internships and jobs online - that includes all of the companies that plan on attending. The benefit of this tool is that you are able to see what companies are looking for in terms of major, GPA, internship as well as if they are offering full-time jobs.
3. MAP OUT WHERE THE BOOTHS ARE
When you get to the internship fair, there will be a map of where all of the booths are located. Before beginning to talk to the representatives from each of the companies you want to see, map out where all of your booths are. Not only does this save you time, it also saves you from walking up and down the aisles numerous times.
4. GET THE REPRESENTATIVE’S CONTACT INFORMATION
Asking for their information shows the representative that you are serious about your intent to work for them. Not only does it look professional, but it will also help you out when you follow tip #5.
5. SEND A FOLLOW-UP EMAIL
Alright, you did it! You survived your first internship fair. It’s over. Well, not exactly. After going to the career and internship fair or at least a few days after, get on your computer and send the companies you are interested in an email stating who you are, what job you are looking for, what skills you have, and what you could bring to the company. This not only reminds them of your name but also shows them your dedication to maintaining contact with them.