UCSB Career Services is hosting its Winter Career Fair next Thursday, January 29, from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. in Corwin Pavilion. This event is open to all students. There will be 53 organizations on hand in areas including engineering, technology, marketing, human resources, business management, sciences, finance, education, government, social services, and sales. Of this group, 33 have specific interest in talking to graduate students (see the above link).
If you haven’t been to a career fair, or aren’t sure what is involved, it is an event bringing together a variety of employers interested in meeting Gauchos to talk about potential job opportunities. Especially if you have interest in the industries being represented – and you come prepared – career fairs can be a great way to connect with professionals in your area, learn about organizations and their hiring opportunities, and possibly even land an interview.
So what’s the best way to prepare? Here are some proven tips:
- Research the employers you are interested in connecting with – website, products/services, company divisions, current events, competitors, etc.
- Find out what specific opportunities the organizations have available – website, GauchoLink, Indeed.com, Google, etc.
- Plan a strategy for which organizations you’d like to meet with
- Create a list of questions you’d like to ask them
Put Together 30- to 60-Second Intro or ”Elevator Speech”
- For use in answering the “tell me about yourself”-related questions
- It should include information about who you are, what you’re looking for, what you have to offer (education, skills, experience, etc.), and why you are interested in the company
- Write, edit, get feedback, and practice, practice, practice your speech
- A resume (as opposed to a CV) is appropriate for most industry positions
- Your resume should be distinctive, easy to read, error-free, and relevant to the research you did about the company
- If necessary, have different versions for different employers
- Get your resume critiqued by at least two knowledgeable people beforehand
- Bring several hard copies of your resume in a portfolio or something professional-looking
Make an Effort Towards Your Dress and Appearance
- Err on the side of over-dressing vs. under-dressing
- Wear a suit or business casual dress, depending on the industry
- Long lines often form and some employers leave early
- Note: If you get your resume/CV critiqued in drop-in counseling at Career Services (Career Resource Room, 11 a.m. - 4 p.m., Monday-Friday), you will receive a pass to enter the fair one hour early
- Ask for cards/contact information from employers you meet
- Send them an email within 24 hours, thanking them for their time and interest, reiterating your interest in their organization/opportunity (if applicable), and following up with any action steps or other pertinent discussion points
- Follow-up further, as appropriate
UCSB Career Services offers an effective array of resources, programming, coaching, and other services. For more details, visit the Career Services website.
John Coate is the Assistant Director and Coordinator of Graduate Student Services for UCSB's Career Services. He periodically writes post on career and professional development issues for The GradPost.