Employer Advice: Make the Most of the Career Fair

It may not seem like it yet but summer break is right around the corner and it’s time to start thinking about summer plans. Whether you’re thinking about studying abroad or taking summer classes, internships are a chance for students to get some hands-on job experience in their field. The Spring Career + Internship Fair at Pitt can be a good springboard to help you get started in your search. Here are some tips from employers on how to stand out and make your best impression at the career fair:
 

1. Do your homework on the employers you’re interested in. Make sure to create a top 5 list and tailor your resume for those employers.

 
“Students should know who we are and have an idea of what jobs may be a good fit for you (by looking ahead of time at our webpage). Knowing what you want – whether that is the industry you’re interested in or a specific job – demonstrates drive and goal setting to the company.”

– Kelly Polinkas, recruiter at Norfolk Southern
 

2. Highlight your achievements and get involved in activities outside of school

 

“For many of our campus programs we are looking for students that challenge themselves inside and outside the classroom. While a strong GPA is important, we love to see students getting involved with clubs or volunteering and are genuinely passionate about healthcare.”

– Alexandra Sossi, recruiter at UPMC
 

3. Wear a professional outfit and proofread your resume

 
“The most common mistakes I see on resumes are the ones that are easiest to fix – small grammatical mistakes, poor or inconsistent formatting, and leaving off important information. Make sure you proofread your resume and have someone else take a look at it.”

– Alexandra Sossi, recruiter at UPMC
 

4. Be energetic! Employers love students who are enthusiastic and excited to talk about their company. Be sure to brush up on your communication skills!

 
“The most important skill students can demonstrate is excellent communication skills. Students should have an elevator speech prepared that demonstrates this skill.”

– Kelly Polinkas, recruiter at Norfolk Southern
 

5. Get their business card so you can follow up with who you talk to

 
“Make it a conversation. Career fairs are a long day in general and by the end recruiters are exhausted. A simple question like ‘How’s your day going?’ or even ‘What do you like about your company?’ can leave an impact on a recruiter and goes a surprisingly long way in helping a candidate stand out.”
 
– Alexandra Sossi, recruiter at UPMC
 
 
With these tips and the right preparation, you can have a successful experience at the Spring Career + Internship Fair. Remember, the career fair is a chance for you to showcase your achievements and make an impression so be sure to do your research and be prepared! For more help with resume editing and elevator speeches, visit the Career Center on the 2nd floor of WPU.
 
The engineering fair will take place on February 12  from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.; computing and information will take place on February 13 from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.; and Liberal Arts, Science, and Business will take place on February 15 from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. For more information, check out handshake. Good luck!
 
By: Mehaa Shah