Whether you’re hoping to land a summer internship, co-op or your first full-time job, you need to be ready to stand out and impress. But don’t panic. The Career Opportunities and Employer Relations (COER) team is here to help you get your game plan together so you can navigate the Missouri S&T Career Fair on Feb. 16. Here are three tips to make the best of this opportunity gold mine.
Do your research
Have a plan for who you want to talk to at the fair – before you step foot into the Gale Bullman Building.
“This is the largest networking event in the Midwest, and employers come here because of the quality of our students and the service our office provides,” says Julie Pittser, associate director of COER. “We have a wide range of employers who come to our Career Fair, from small startup companies like Care Otter in St. Louis to big corporations like Harley Davidson, Clorox and Pfizer.”
Know what the company does and what people in your intended role do. Unless you choose to speak with a company you hadn’t planned to, don’t try to research on the spot using your smart phone. Instead, come prepared to ask very focused questions.
“Not knowing what a company does is a big mistake,” says Mark Pottorff, assistant director of COER. “Employers want to know you really are interested in them.”
This isn’t the time to slack off on your appearance. You won’t even get into the event without dressing professionally. Wondering what that means? Don’t make the mistake of wearing jeans, a too-short skirt or skipping the tie. Basic guidelines for men include wearing dress slacks, dark socks with dress shoes, and a shirt and tie. Women should pair pants or a conservative, knee-length skirt with a simple blouse and jacket, hose and sensible shoes.
“You need to dress so people can hear what you’re saying,” says Dr. Edna Grover-Bisker, COER director. “And if you’re a junior or a senior, you should be wearing a business suit.”
On a budget and can’t afford proper interview attire? Stop by COER’s office on the third floor of Norwood Hall. Since spring 2007, they have provided professional clothing to students for free through their Suit Closet program.
Ask for help
Whether you’re a freshman or a senior, COER can help you do everything from polish your resume to craft a power introduction.
“Employers need to be efficient because they’re meeting so many students,” Grover-Bisker says. “In 30 to 60 seconds, you need to be able to cover who you are and what you can offer an employer. Know what’s on your resume and be able to talk about it. Tell them about your skills and where you’ve used them, why you’re excited about what their company does, and what you can do for them.”