Heart of the Matter

Andy Chan's Blog for Parents, Mentors and Teachers

Help Your Child Make the Most of the Spring Job & Internship Fair

Over 37 employers have already registered to come speak with Wake Forest students at the Spring Job & Internship Fair on January 23rd  regarding full-time positions and summer internships. This is a fantastic opportunity for your child to network with potential employers, learn about the world of work, and perhaps even find a full-time job or seasonal internship. Ensure your child makes the most of this great opportunity by conveying the following tips.

Before the Fair

1.      Identify and research prospective employers.

Use this link to find a list of attending organization with attached hyperlinks to each company’s website. Distinguish 5-10 organizations you would like to speak with and research their organizational structure and breadth, key products and services, culture and values, and hiring practices. (Note: Do not be too selective as you may not know as much about a firm or career path as you might think.) The fair is a valuable learning and exploration opportunity.

2.      Prepare your resume.

Make sure your resume is in great shape. If unsure, get your resume checked out at our walk-in resume hours in the OPCD. If you have more than one career focus, you should have separate resumes tailored to each career field. Be sure to have a standard resume with you as well so that you are ready for any situation should it arise. Visit our website to find resume samples, advice, and hours for resume reviews.

3.      Practice typical interview question responses.

When conversing with employers, do not be surprised if they ask you about your goals, skills, or experience. Spend some time practicing your response to interview questions like the ones listed on our webpage. Additionally, prepare your elevator pitch to concisely communicate your background and interests to employers.

4.      Develop a list of questions to ask recruiters.

Thoughtful and intelligent questions demonstrate to recruiters that you have done your homework and are sincere in your interest in their organization. Find a list of questions on the informational interviewing page of the OPCD’s website. Refrain from asking “Can you help me get a job?” or for details about salary or the benefits package. Here is brief list of example questions:

  • What is a typical day for someone in this position?
  • Why did you choose this career?
  • Can you describe the company culture?
  • What keeps you working here?
  • What are the traits/ skills of people most successful in your organization?

5.      Map out a strategy.

Your strategy for the fair should begin with identifying the prospective employers that interest you most. Map your route of organizations you plan to visit, in priority order.

During the Fair

1.      Arrive early, get your bearings.

You want to talk to the recruiters while they are still fresh and eager to meet candidates. As the day wears on, the room will become more crowded, your conversations might be cut short, and everyone tends to tire. Arriving early also allows you to get your bearings before jumping into a conversation with an employer.

2.      Make a good first impression.

In job-hunting, first impressions are critical. Remember you are marketing a product – yourself – to a potential employer. The first thing an employer will see is your attire; we recommend a conservative suit (black, dark blue or charcoal). Click this link for more details. When meeting an employer, keep your introduction short and simple using a natural, but forceful, voice to be heard over the other conversation. Strong eye contact, a firm handshake, and gentle smile are also critical components to good first impression. Additionally, if there is a long line to meet the recruiter, remember to relax and be calm and patient.

3.      Minimize your “stuff.”

If you are coming from class or somewhere else on campus, make sure to leave your extra belongs with a friend or at the check-in area. You should only be wearing your professional attire and holding a portfolio with your resume and some notepaper. Do not bring backpacks, purses, or other bulky items as they will just get in the way.

4.      Ask for a business card.

One of the most important follow-up action items is contacting the representatives after the fair to thank them and continue the relationship. This will be much more difficult if you do not ask for a business card. If the recruiter does not have a card on them, ask for their contact information taking care to get the correct spelling of their title, name, email and phone number.

5.      Network. Network. Network.

While networking with the recruiters is your primary goal, do not forget to connect with other fair attendees. Your classmates and WFU faculty and staff may have gained information and resources that can be helpful to you.

After the Fair

1.      Send a thank you note.

Write thank you note’s to all the recruiters you met. If possible, hand written thank you notes always leave an impression (as long as your handwriting is legible!), but a well worded email is fine as well. Make sure to mention where you met the employer and comment on an aspect of your conversation with him or her. Also, declare your intention to progress to the next step of the process (whether that be applying for a position or conducting an informational interview with someone else in the organization). Visit our Employer Correspondence webpage to find a sample thank you letter.

2.      Organize all your contact information.

You should leave the fair with lots of new contact information. It is important you keep this information organized and readily accessible so you can continue your relationship with the company representatives. Use our Networking Tracking Tool to stay organized.

3.      Devise a follow up plan.

Formulate a plan to take the next steps with each organization. Whether you hope to apply for a specific position or just gather additional information, your plan will contain different action items. Determine what your goal is with a particular organization and then build a plan to help you get there with appropriate action steps and deadlines. Meet with one of our career counselors in the OPCD, Reynolda 230, for guidance in developing your Action Plan and to make sure you are on track.

Category: Employer Events, Tips for Students