Prep workshops to help students prepare for upcoming career fair

Margaret Baah

Your college is hosting a networking event. You are excited to meet professionals and find internships. At the venue, you see 150 employers, each with three representatives. Your heart races; your palms are sweaty due to nerves. You see representatives from Insight Global, a company you’ve dreamt of working with. You approach them, and find yourself attempting to fumble through an elevator pitch. 

You are not the only one in this position, as many students face this same challenge. However, students can improve their skills and resumes at drop-in sessions offered by Career Exploration and Development (CED). These sessions include one-on-one interaction with professionals and advisers.

The purpose is to help students with elevator pitches, polish their resumes and improve their communication skills ahead of the Career Fair on Feb. 21. Jody Patterson, associate director of career advising in the CED office said that during career fairs, employers often see students unprepared and standing off to the side feeling nervous.

Patterson also said the drop-in sessions usually only take about ten minutes for students.

Students can ask about navigation through Handshake, have their resumes critiqued, work on elevator pitches and learn how to approach an employer and ask the right questions during the fair.

Craig Wilkinson, a career adviser in the CED office, recommends that students know their goals for the drop-ins, and for the fair itself, before attending so they don’t hesitate too much.

“Engage early. Don’t wait ’til the last minute,” Wilkinson said.

The last session gets packed with students. It is recommended for students to go to earlier sessions rather than wait until the last minute. Advisers may not have the time to coach every student for the fair and answer all questions. Students can also email their advisers with questions and get them answered before the fair.

Wilkinson advises students to follow up with employers after the fair and not wait for employers to call them. Students must follow up with a substantial message.

Students can prepare for these sessions through research. Navigating Handshake and the Career Exploration and Development website ahead of time can help students ask the right questions at drop-ins.

The next sessions will be Feb. 13 in Cartwright Hall’s third-floor lobby, from 10 a.m. to noon and Feb. 14 in Cunningham Hall’s second-floor lobby, from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. The last session will be Feb. 19 in the Leadership Center, Kent Student Center 220, from 10 a.m. to noon.

Margaret Baah covers jobs and money. Contact her at [email protected].