Posted tagged ‘career fair’

How To Start Searching For Your Spring or Summer Internships

October 7, 2010

You can count on lots of help in searching for your next internship. But the impetus has to come from you. Getting a good internship is a competitive process, so it’s never too early to start networking.

Here are our top 5 tips for how to search for your spring or summer internships:

  1. Attend career fairs. Your campus probably sponsors numerous career fairs year-long. So get your resume updated and dust off your business casual clothes. Sign up early and research the companies in which you are interested. Approach your top choices first and have a 30-second introduction ready as to what you bring to the table. Do take notes, write thank-you letters, and follow-up for internships.
  2. Visit the career center.  Be a frequent visitor to the career center, asking for help in updating your resume. Attend the many workshops and read the center’s updates and newsletters. Make sure that you know the counselors by name and that they all know what internships interest you. If you have your sights set on a specific company, ask the career center to contact the company to explore internship opportunities. You could also volunteer to help out with special events at the center.
  3. Talk to other students. Develop contacts with former and current interns, learning about their internships and what they liked and disliked about the companies. Don’t hesitate to ask a current intern to recommend you as his/her successor. And be sure to find out as much as possible about the internship supervisor, so you’ll know what to talk about during an interview. Explore the possibility of virtual internships by talking with other students who may have experience in this growing field.
  4. Search internships.com. As the world’s largest internship site, internships.com has something for everyone. You can zone in on any internship by specifying location, company, paid or unpaid, credit, time period, and responsibilities. The site also offers special programs that predict what internships are best for you and how to improve your ability to perform. You can read intern blogs and access coaching services.
  5. Create your own internship. If you still can’t find the internship of your dreams, create one. Research the company and internship that you want and then approach the company with a proposal, listing your abilities and explaining the value that you bring to the company. You can also ask for an informational interview as a means to get your foot in the door. Another approach is to offer to do a virtual internship, working on a special project for the company.

What’s Next After The Career Fair?

September 7, 2010

So what now?  You’ve probably met representatives from several companies and collected their business cards and company brochures. Instead of storing these items in the bottom of a drawer, capitalize on your recent career fair experience now!

Thank your contacts

First, write a brief letter or note and send it to each person with whom you spoke. Emails can get lost as junk mail, so send your message in snail mail.

Start off by thanking him/her for the information about the company and then ask if you can come in for an informational interview to learn more about the industry. At this point, you aren’t asking for an internship or a job; instead you simply want to develop a professional relationship with the company.

Do some research

Another follow-up technique would involve writing a paper on that company or on the industry for a specific class assignment. You would describe your project to the company representative and ask if you could visit the company to interview him/her for your paper with the offer to show him/her the finished project.

After you have done an informational interview or have completed your paper, stay in touch with your company contact by sending  holiday cards or your updated resume for the company files. If you see any news items that reflect positively on the company, you could send a note, marking the event and demonstrating your interest.

Networking after the career fair

Your follow-up plan should include networking. You could begin by visiting the school career center to find out what the staff can tell you about the company. Do the counselors work with a specific person in the firm? You could also check into the alumni office to find out if any alumni are employed at that company and could introduce you to the appropriate personnel. And don’t forget to ask your major professors for company contacts to help build your network, too.

Our Top 4 Career Fair Tips

September 6, 2010

Career fairs are sprouting up on campuses all year round, not just at the end of the year.  In fact, the fall is high season for internship and career events.  At these events, you can network with company reps for either internship or job opportunities. Here are our top 4 tips on how to make the most of your next career fair.

  1. Make sure your resume is up to date with all your latest achievements, including part-time jobs, volunteer work, internships, academic honors, study abroad semesters, unusual hobbies, etc. Your career center will help you update your resume to showcase your skills. Then, print out your resume on good quality paper and take them with you to the career fair.  Present your resume at each company that interests you.
  2. Research what companies will be attending , so you can Google them in advance and find out about the company. Then, you’ll be able to carry on an intelligent conversation and ask relevant questions, showing the representative that you cared enough to research the firm. After you do your research, you may be able to find out if you know anyone who works there who could help you connect with the proper personnel and whose name you could mention to the representative at the career fair.
  3. Review your wardrobe to be sure that you’ll make a professional impression on the companies at the career fair. A clean white shirt or blouse and a neutral skirt or slacks will be a safe combination. Keep your hairstyle and jewelry simple and refrain from using scents. You want the company to see that you would “fit” in at its office, whether as an intern or new employee.
  4. Get there when it first starts. You’ll have a better chance of being remembered if you talk to the companies when everyone is fresh and the fair isn’t crowded. Plan ahead on what you’ll say when you approach each booth. Try to ask a question based on your research. After you engage a representative in conversation, you might even ask if you could do an informational internship interview with the company.

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