April 21, 2024
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11 Ways to Prepare for the Job Fair

It’s that time of the year again – the biannual Binghamton University Job and Internship Fair! As a senior who has done this before and plans to do it again, it’s understandable if you’re feeling nervous, even if it isn’t your first time attending. With great opportunities comes great stress, but here are some tips from the Fleishman Career Center, and tips I’ve personally learned to bring you some peace of mind. Plus, I’ll be there so feel free to say hello!

Produce the perfect resume

resume

Resume writing is not the most exciting activity, but it can be made a lot easier by using the Binghamton University resume template, where you can select a resume format based on your year and general field. Check out the Career Guide as well for all sorts of information relevant to career building. Make sure to print at least 10-15 copies of your resume and store it in a folder or padfolio. The more, the better – you never know who you might end up pitching to!

Reach out to mentors and advisors

worker advising student at Harpur Edge

The Mentor Match Program is a great resource. Based on your career and study interests, you can match up with Binghamton University alumni who can advise you and even provide potential job and internship opportunities. Your mentor can help you prepare for the job fair, look over your resume, and even inspire you with new career paths. Each school within the University has their own career prep offices, such as Harpur Edge, SOM Career Services, Watson Career and Alumni Connections, which are all great resources for resume and LinkedIn-building assistance! Remember, too, that you can filter through Binghamton alumni on LinkedIn and form connections there.

Identify your career cluster

Guy zoomed in, suited up talking to someone

Your first step should be to identify what career cluster you are a part of. Career clusters include: Arts & Communication, Business & Entrepreneurship, Education & Human Services, Engineering & IT, Government, Policy & Law, and Science & Healthcare. Unsure of what your future looks like? There is also the Exploring career cluster. Keep in mind that while some of these employers may seem largely business-oriented, they may be looking for people in different career clusters, so make sure to take a closer look.

Dress for success

guy dressed up well in line

Wear your Sunday best! It’s recommended you dress business casual at a minimum. Wear clothing such as slacks, blouses, button-downs and dress shoes. Fortunately, there is a great exclusive discount at the JCPenney Suit-Up. If you can’t make it, stores such as Burlington and Walmart also offer affordable prices.

Research the employers

notebook and pen on desk

Research is crucial. Once you’ve narrowed down your desired employers, research their company motives and goals. Look through their company webpage and their Handshake and LinkedIn profiles. I definitely recommend bringing a list of employers, along with notes identifying each one, so you remember who you’re speaking with. And bring a pen! You may be given information on the fly, so you need to be able to quickly jot down and cross off who you’ve spoken with.

Hone in your elevator pitch

student holding career guide talking to other student

Breathe, be calm and remember that some of these recruiters may be just as nervous as you. We’re all human, and they understand that you are a student looking for opportunities, and that’s naturally a vulnerable and stressful event. It gets easier the more you do it, and you can practice for this with the Fleishman Career Center and by using Big Interview. Come with an explanation of your career path and experience, as well as questions.

Ask questions

pic of random question marks

With your research and elevator pitch perfected, having a list of go-to questions will make your conversations with recruiters go from nerve-wracking to more easygoing. These recruiters are there to represent and talk about their companies. Simply asking where the recruiter’s hometown is and how they got involved with the company can be a great fallback question. But focus your questions with the idea of learning more about the company for your own needs.

Befriend Handshake

graphic of a handshake

Handshake is an incredible resource, and is especially useful for job and internship searching because it’s mainly geared towards students and new grads. So instead of competing against the larger masses, you’d be competing against other students. You can filter it through companies that like to hire from Binghamton University, as well as filter for visas for international students. You can check out the companies coming to the STEM Job fair and the general Spring Job Fair through Handshake! You can also schedule a consulting appointment through Handshake with HireBING!

Finalize your checklist

checklist

Make sure you bring your student ID, proper work attire, a folder of resumes, pen, personal list of companies, breath mints, map of the fair, and your phone, as sometimes the booths let you apply through QR codes. Also, make sure your hireBING account has the correct name, major and class year, as you will check in and receive a nametag with your information. Bring your confidence and peaceful mindset. Don’t forget to check out the Fleishman Center’s guide for more details and tips!

Connect after the fair

girl with laptop

You made it, and the war is almost over! Make sure to follow up with the recruiters you spoke with, whether it be through a connection request on LinkedIn, or a polite and professional email. Active interest makes a better impression than passive interest, so don’t be afraid to contact these professionals. Check out their company pages and see what kinds of positions are open.

Succeed in the search

student worker at fleishman center desk

For some final tips, It’s typically recommended to apply through the company webpage rather than directly through LinkedIn or Handshake. Cover letters are also of great importance depending on your field, and if the application says optional, sometimes it’s better to assume they mean required. Even if you feel like you don’t qualify for all of the expectations in a role, it’s still worth applying if you think you’re a good fit! Don’t forget, you can seek help through the Fleishman Center, and stop by their office in UU-133.

Best of luck, and remember that even if the day does not end with you landing the perfect pitches or the perfect opportunities, it’s a step in the right direction. Try not to feel discouraged, and make sure to treat yourself to a nice break for all your hard work!

Lauren Woodring is an intern for the Office of Media and Public Relations, and a senior double majoring in English and psychology. She’s looking forward to starting her career after graduation, and she can be found playing board games with friends, earning her cat’s love with treats and writing poetry in her spare time.


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