Sunday, April 22nd, 2018

Students prepare for upcoming career fair

Thomas Fitzgerald

Posted on February 08, 2016 in Sports
By USM Free Press

By Thomas Fitzgerald

As USM is preparing for the career fair on Thursday, Feb. 11, students are getting ready to meet the representatives for over one hundred companies at the event. Career fairs do not come along very often at USM, and it is a great way for students and alumni to network with potential employers and discuss what could be a new future. But how does a student prepare for something as professional as a career fair?

Workshops have been available to all students on a weekly basis, and the coordinator of career services, Stacy Stewart, has done an admirable job of assuring that any student who is in need of advice or assistance before this event is taken care of.

Most of the work that is required for success at this sort of event takes place before anything begins, as it is primarily the job of the student to have a plan of what he/she wants to gain from this opportunity.

One of the first things to consider before attending the event is your appearance. Even though the classroom environment at USM does not require us to dress professionally, it will be something that representatives notice in a potential employee. Stewart mentioned in one of the workshops that it was not necessary to go out and buy a new suit, but students should still be aware of what they have in their closet and should find something to wear that looks casual but also professional.

Another aspect of the career fair that every student should have confidence in beforehand is his/her résumé: a one or two page document that provides information about your education, work experience or any other qualification that would stand out to an employer, such as volunteer work or extracurricular activities. This document allows for an employer to get quick answers about why you may be qualified to work for them.. But a good résumé is not the only thing potential employers will be looking for.

“When we look at what employers are really looking for in candidates, it is more the soft skills than the hard skills. When you have your degree, you learn an amazing thing. Within that, you learn to communicate effectively, you learn leadership skills and those are the type of things that employers are looking for,”Stewart added. “Being able to hold a conversation with somebody is going to make a huge impact with you you are speaking with. It makes you look very prepared when you know a little about the company even though conversation can be a very intimidating thing.”

One exercise that Stewart recommended doing before participating in the event is to thoroughly look over the list of employers that is available through the USM website and create a list of ten companies that interest you. Once that list is created, a small amount of research should be done about each so you are prepared with a some insight toward your conversation before it begins.

However, limiting yourself to ten different tables is also not a wise choice. Although it is important to have some background information for companies that generate your initial interest, it is not recommended that a visit to the fair should be limited to predispositions. With more than 200 representatives being present for over 100 organizations, it is important to network beyond what is expected beforehand and make new opportunities with companies that you once did not realize had potential in your future.

An opportunity to further establish a connection with representatives at this event is to become a student host. This volunteer option allows students access to meeting employers before the event has a change to begin and could be a great opportunity to establish yourself as a familiar face for representatives you are looking to make a strong impression with.

It should not be considered intimidating when considering how much preparation is required for the upcoming fair because representatives at USM are working hard to answer any questions that students have and is offering help on résumés during almost all regular hours on campus. If you are a student and still feel in need of some additional help preparing for what is to come, there are still options throughout the week that are available.

The Woodbury campus center, Sullivan gym complex, and Brooks student center are all offering drop in hours for students to bring their résumé to be professionally reviewed. Times for these drop in hours are listed on the USM calendar of events that is available online.

 

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