About 160 companies will crowd the Athletic Center on Wednesday, Oct. 8 for the university-wide career fair.
The 31st annual career fair, held from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., is open to students from all majors and years. The fair will allow students to network with companies such as Verizon Wireless, Yale-New Haven Hospital, CBS Radio, New York Life and Clear Channel communications.
“If you’re a freshmen, sophomore, junior,[or] senior, you should network,” Director of Employer Relations Grace Peiffer said. “And even if you feel like ‘well there are no companies that really I’m looking for,’ [the career fair is] still a networking opportunity where you meet people who can point you to the right direction.”
About 800 to 1,000 students generally attend the career fair each year, according to Associate Dean for Career Development in the School of Business Jill Ferrall. The companies will be arranged in alphabetical order, with A’s in the front, closer to the tennis courts, and Z’s in the back toward Mount Carmel Avenue.
Assistant Dean for Career Development in the School of Communications Joseph Catrino said students should bring their resumes, business cards and a pen to the career fair. Students should dress professionally and expect to spend at least an hour at the career fair, he said.
But Catrino said going to the career fair is mostly about how students prepare beforehand. He said students should check out the list of companies online at QU Career Connections, research the businesses and plan which ones they want to speak to.
“You can’t just wake up, put a suit on and say ‘I’m going to go do really well,’” he said. “You have to do a little bit of legwork on the front end to make sure you’re ready to talk to anybody and everyone.”
Ferrall recommends students practice their elevator pitch, which is a 30-second to one-minute introduction to themself and their major.
“If a student goes in and they have a dynamite elevator pitch, they’re resume looks sharp and they have good questions and they’ve obviously done research on the company, that’s going to make the company feel very loved and impressed,” Ferrall said.
Students should know their resumes inside and out, she said.
“If they hand out their resume and somebody inquires about something on the resume and they have to take the resume back from somebody, that’s not going to look good,” Ferrall said.
Peiffer said it is important for students to come up with questions to ask recruiters.
She said freshmen and sophomores should ask questions such as: What classes would prepare me for your entry level positions? Are there any activities that as a student I should be participating in? What do you think makes an entry level candidate stand out?
Juniors and seniors should ask the recruiters: What do you think makes an entry-level candidate stand out? What is the typical career path for employees who start in this position? What characteristics about your company did you find appealing? What is the application and interview process like?
“I try to have students focus on [asking questions,]” Peiffer said. “Versus just going around and saying, I’m looking for a job, I’m looking for an internship.”
Students should think of the exchange with the recruiters as a conversation, she said.
“The more relaxed you are, the more self-assured you are of what you’re saying and who you are, the better conversations you will have and the more you will learn, Peiffer said. “It’s a two-way street. It’s for you to find out about companies and what they offer…and for the employer to see what you have to offer.”
Some of the employers sit behind the tables, and students walk right by them, Peiffer said. Instead, students approach these recruiters, she said.
“The student who reaches out the hand across the table and says ‘hi my name is so, I see your sign, could you tell me more,’ is the one who is proactive,” Peiffer said. “[This student] most likely will end up with some sort of a job with somebody because that’s how you just practice, practice, practice being self-confident by doing that.”
Junior biomedical marketing major Chris Popolizio has not attended previous career fairs, but he said he will attend the career fair on Wednesday as part of Ferrall’s SB 112 class.
“I think it’s all about confidence,” he said. “Even if you’re not specifically there to get an internship, if you walk in there and make it seem like you’re on a mission, you want to talk to someone, just really express who you are and even if they don’t offer you anything, they’re going to know who you are.”
Junior biomedical marketing major Samantha Caruso is also in Ferrall’s SB 112 class. Last year Caruso attended the career fair and made a connection that eventually led her to get an internship. She hopes to have the same success on Wednesday.
“As juniors I think it’s really important to get internships,” she said. “And even just introducing yourself and getting their contact information could really help in the future. You never know when you’re going to run into somebody.”
Sometimes students forget their job is not done once they leave the career fair, Ferrall said. Students should follow-up with the recruiters through email and thank them for their time.
“It really makes a good impression,” Ferrall said. “If you get a thank-you note from somebody, it feels good, it always feels good.”
Peiffer said students can ask the recruiters in the email if they can connect on LinkedIn and what the best way to stay in touch with the employers is. This will help the recruiters remember the student when an internship or job opportunity comes up.
“[The career fair is] ultimately about jobs,” Peiffer said. “But it’s not necessarily about getting a job today, at the moment that you went to the career fair.”
Catrino said upperclassmen tend to attend the career fair more than underclassmen. But he said freshmen should still check out the career fair.
“Even if you don’t want to talk to anybody, dress up and walk around and see what it’s like,” he said. “Because then next year when you’re a sophomore or a junior or a senior, you’re now more prepared on how to handle it.”
Caruso said when she went to the career fair as a freshman and sophomore, some recruiters turned her away because they were only looking for juniors and seniors. Yet, Caruso said the career fair is still a great experience for underclassmen.
“Don’t be discouraged,” she said. “Get your information out to everybody because when you do become a junior or senior, it can pay off.”
The steps to success at the career fair:
· Research the companies beforehand. Students received an email with the complete list of businesses at the fair. The list also can be found online at QU Career Connections.
· Know your resume and be able to express your skills to employers.
· Dress professionally
· Bring multiple copies of your resume, business cards and a pen
· After the fair, send a follow-up email to the recruiters, thanking them for their time and asking how you can best stay in touch with them.