Career Fair Preparation – 5 Key Tips

When someone mentions a Career Fair, excitement for new career possibilities or apprehension for preparing to meet employers race through my mind. No matter what age you may be, marketing yourself to possible employers is no easy task! With these 5 Key Tips, you can take steps to feel more confident and comfortable navigating the Wily Network Career Fair on October 19th.  

  1. Brainstorm your goals for the Career Fair! Whether you have just started career exploration or you are ready to join the workforce, writing down your objectives will guide you at the fair. Below are a few examples of strong goals you can focus on.
    • I aim to research five companies and think of a couple of questions to ask the respective recruiters. 
    • I can focus on my strengths and experiences to create a short introduction elevator pitch.
    • I will explore companies from 3 different industries and better understand that sector’s work opportunities. 
    • I will ask a friend/classmate/mentor for feedback on my resume, which I will distribute at the career fair.
    • I plan to introduce myself to five recruiters and ask for their follow-up contact information.
  2. Research in advance the companies that will be present and narrow down a list of companies that interest you. Hiring managers expect you to come to a job fair with a basic knowledge of their company and its products/services. Knowing the company’s core values and mission statements shows that you are genuinely interested in the company and will impress the recruiter. Powerful questions revolve around core values, office culture, recent internal changes, the impact of pandemic work protocols, and their experience with inclusive initiatives. If you are stuck thinking of questions that can’t be found on their website, Google is a convenient tool for providing industry questions to ask recruiters. Remember, the Career Fair is a convenient place to find out if a company or industry is a good fit for you, so focus questions on what matters most to you.
  3. Prepare an updated resume that reflects your strengths, education, recent experience, and leadership experiences. Keep in mind to quantify and show the results you drove in your positions. Many universities have Career Centers or Library Services that will provide feedback on resumes and workshops to improve it. You can also ask a classmate or professor for their help on your resume. Getting a second set of eyes on your work is crucial to communicate your experience to the recruiter. Also, it’s helpful to tailor your resume to the different companies you are interested in; this could be as simple as changing the previous coursework section or adding more points about a relevant job. ​​Overall, recruiters have seen every achievement imaginable, so your resume should be the best reflection of all your hard work.  
  4. Depending on your work sector, consider bringing a portfolio of your previous experiences. It can be a physical binder, book, or online portfolio with electronic documents that organize samples of your work. After researching the company and pieces created by employees, you can include work that reflects the company’s culture. This will bring your experience to life and make you stand out as an applicant. 
  5. Practice an elevator pitch that you are comfortable introducing yourself with. The introduction should include your educational background, what experience led you to be interested in a specific field, and your future career interests. If you are looking into new industries, consider mentioning how past experiences led you to this interest. This pitch should be straightforward and no more than 30 seconds. Since first impressions are impactful, a thought-out and well-versed pitch will make you memorable and start a personal conversation on future opportunities.

 The Career Fair is a low-pressure opportunity to have a personal conversation with recruiters who know their industry positions best. Being your authentic self and highlighting your strengths will help you explore fitting opportunities. After going through these five tips to prepare, you will feel five steps closer to making the most out of the Career Fair. 

Early Obstacles and Later Success

On September 20th, 2020 I will be moderating an online discussion, Early Obstacles and Later Success, with Triston Francis, hosted by the Wily Network. 

I initially connected with Triston at a Wily event with Harvard Business School, Professionally Telling Your Story at HBS, and recently reached out to Triston after hearing his MASA seminar. I wanted to hear his thoughts on how early adversity has led to his success, as well as gain advice and insights on how he managed early adversity and a demanding educational program.

A first-generation college student who grew up in an underserved community, Triston did not have a lot of access to educational opportunities or guidance. He didn’t think education could help him out of his situation, but a lucky opportunity to go to boarding school changed his life. Over time, Triston received the coaching and support he needed to believe in himself and set high goals.

Triston received a BS from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business, and served as president of both the Black Wharton Undergraduate Association as well as the African-American Senior Honor Society. After graduating he worked as an associate on Morgan Stanley’s Multicultural Client Strategy Team. Triston received his MBA from Harvard Business School, where he served as the Student Body President and graduated in the top 20% of his class.

Outside of school and work, Triston founded a professional development speaker series in New York City called Navigating Corporate America, and is involved with the non profits Management Leadership for Tomorrow (MLT) and Sponsorship for Educational Opportunity (SEO).

I wanted to share Triston’s story with my younger brother, who struggles to return to a rigorous academic school while balancing a turbulent family situation. As a young student, it is difficult for him to understand how the challenges he is facing now, inside and outside the classroom, will prepare him with essential life skills. Like many other students, my brother has been presented with many unprecedented challenges he must overcome, while showing appreciation for the resources he is provided. 

Triston and I felt that many students could benefit from hearing his journey, learning about different aspects of measuring growth, and asking personal questions. 

Two months later, I am now working with the Wily Network’s communications team to create promotional media and conduct community outreach. This experience has allowed me to grow my management skills, expand my network, and share with the community a resource that has helped me. I am very excited to host and moderate this discussion, and share this opportunity with my community. 

Early Obstacles and Later Success will take place on Sunday, September 20th, 7:30-8:30 pm EST. This discussion is a great opportunity to learn more about Triston’s story: his take on the power of education, his mindset while overcoming obstacles, and the experiences that were essential for his professional success. These topics are truly versatile, highlighting the importance of different growth forms, whether it be academic or personal. Regardless of your age, educational foundation, or personal background, if you are interested in learning about the positive impact of adversity, this is the event for you. Click here to sign up for the event! All you need is a phone or computer with a stable connection to tune in.

8 Difficulties of Working Remotely

This summer, I am thankful to have the opportunity to intern remotely at Equal Innovation, a consulting company. Like many students, I was left scrambling to find meaningful work for the summer, with a limited number of options for an increased number of applicants. Sadly, students who did secure an internship before the pandemic may have had their program canceled. The College Reaction/Axios Poll, conducted in April found that “38% of surveyed college students who said they had secured an internship or post-graduate work now say those opportunities have been canceled; 37% say those plans have been delayed or made remote” (Forbes). Further, “Of the employers who canceled internships, 64% offered no compensation” (Yellow). 

For the students who were able to rebound and restart the application process, the majority could not meet their potential employers in person for an interview. Luckily, I was able to land my first internship and first totally remote job, just before the semester ended.

I’m three weeks into my internship and some of the privileges of remote work have turned into obstacles I have to overcome. Here are my top 8 difficulties that you may be able to relate with: 

 

  1. My work depends on my undependable wifi connection. With the average American working from home, we will be testing the “internet networks with one of the biggest mass behavior changes that the nation has experienced” (NY Times, So We’re Working From Home. Can the Internet Handle It?). 
  2. My schedule is more flexible, which makes it easier to get sidetracked. My designated workspace is also next to the TV and front window; on sunny days it is difficult to hold back my urge to go outside and on rainy days it is even more difficult to hold back my urge to go on Netflix. 
  3. Learning is essential to an internship, and I will be forced to learn online rather than from an in-person experience. Like me, “77% of college students say remote learning is worse than in-person learning”(Forbes).
  4. My environment greatly affects my productivity; I cannot get the experience of working in an office environment this summer.
  5. My boss is not down the hall from me to provide support. So, most of my questions are answered via email which allows for miscommunication and little guidance.
  6. It is challenging to network with co-workers and impossible to talk about the job over a lunch break.
  7. I’m not able to have someone quickly look over my work and provide me with feedback at the last minute. 
  8. Since my work was moved online, I am staring at my computer screen for the majority of the workday. I will miss out on fieldwork this summer. 

 

Although remote work has numerous difficulties, I will be prepared to move forward to work remotely. When you feel frustrated with your remote work, make sure to remember the skills and lessons you will be learning from adapting. Here are some interesting articles of the benefits from remote work: 

7 Important Life Lessons You Can Learn from Working Remotely

4 Lessons I’ve Learned About Working Remotely

What if You Don’t Want to Go Back to the Office?



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