“If you stay ready, you never have to get ready.” It’s a phrase that urges preparedness for the things ahead, so that when the time comes and there’s no time to waste, you’re right where you need to be. You can imagine what this looks like in the context of your academics. It means completing your assigned readings on time so you’re not caught off guard by a pop-quiz or a paper due in two days. It looks like taking good notes in class so you’re ready when midterms roll around. But when it comes to your career, what does it look like to get ready and stay ready? No matter where you are in your career journey, it means knowing your options and making good connections. Attending the Fall Career and Internship Fair will help you do both.
Now you may be wondering how exactly attending the Fall Career and Internship Fair will help you do these two things? The fair hosts over 150 local and global employers in various fields. Students have the opportunity to visit employer tables to learn about the work they do, the different roles within their company, and their hiring goals and timelines. Students can expect to speak directly to company representatives or hiring managers, making valuable in-person connections.
Still wondering if the fair is for you? If you’re still on the fence, you’re not the only one. A number of misconceptions and concerns keep certain students from attending the Fall Career and Internship Fair. Here are the most popular ones, and why you shouldn’t let them hold you back.
- “It’s for business majors”
All majors are welcome at the career fair, and in fact the employers present are from a variety of fields, including education, engineering, and entertainment. Also note that you don’t have to be in CSOM to work in business. Take it from Ariel Belgrave-Harris, a 2011 psychology major who landed her first job after graduating from BC at JPMorgan Chase & Co.
- “I need to be sure of my desired career path”
You don’t. The fair is an opportunity to explore. There are an infinite number of possible career paths out there, and it’s impossible to know them all. Get a glimpse of what is out there by visiting different companies and learning about what they do and the various roles they have available.
- “It’s for people graduating soon and looking for full-time jobs”
The organizations attending are also seeking to hire interns at different academic levels. If you’re a freshman or sophomore, attending the fair now is an opportunity to practice communicating with employers while the stakes are low. You don’t want your first networking or interviewing experience to be with your dream company. Get all your nerves out now and build your confidence.
Now that you’ve decided to attend the Fall Career and Internship Fair, here’s how to put your best foot forward:
- Do your research. Whether you’re a freshman or senior, just browsing or preparing for a job or internship search, having an idea of who is coming can help you plan how you spend your time at the career fair. You can find the list of companies attending via the CareerFairPlus app. Go deeper by visiting company websites to learn more about the missions and values of the organizations. How are they dedicated to diversity, equity, and inclusion? Do they aim to provide a safe work environment for LGBTQIA+ employees? Do they dedicate resources to help employees with disabilities feel welcome and supported in the workplace? These are just a few things that may matter to you when you think about the ideal work environment.
- Get your resume ready. There are few faster ways of getting your resume into the right hands than literally placing it into someone’s hands! Make sure your resume is up-to-date, error free, and truly representative of you and your interests. After that, get it checked-out by the friendly folks at the Boston College Career Center at a drop-in appointment.
- Prep a pitch. Students’ most common fear at career fairs is finding the right words to say. Do the leg work is advance. Prepare a 30-second speech, “a pitch” about you, your interests, and what you’re hoping to do in the near or distant future. If you’ve done your research and know that a company you’re interested in will be attending, add a few lines in your pitch connecting your interest to that company/those companies.
- Bring Questions. You should have a list of questions ready to ask companies that you’re interested in. Similar to your pitch, it will help you jumpstart your conversations with company representatives at the Fair. Once you’ve done your research, you might like to know what Company A’s does to empower women of color in the workplace or how they make the office space accessible for people with physical disabilities. Think deeply about additional things you’d like to know about a company or companies, write them down, and bring those questions to the career fair!
- Set goals. There’s a lot going on at a career fair and it can be easy to disappear into the packed room. Challenge yourself to engage meaningfully by setting concrete goals. How many resumes will you hand out? How many tables will you visit and employers will you speak with? Once you’re doing it, you might find the whole thing easier than you thought.
- Dress to impress. You never know what you’ll find or who you’ll meet at the Career Fair. Dress in business attire to leave a good impression for anyone you meet there. Need help with obtaining professional clothing? Visit the Career Closet located at the Boston College Career Center.
- Follow up. Congrats! You survived the Fall Career and Internship Fair! No. Even better, you killed it! You had great conversations with representatives from companies you’re interested in and got your resume into their hands. Now what? The connections you make at the Fair can help you advance in the job/internship search process, but only if you follow-up. Connect with those you spoke with at the fair via LinkedIn or email with a brief note reminding them of your conversation and expressing interest in speaking further about opportunities at their company. Suggest a next step in the process and thank them for their time.
—By Motun Bolumole, LSOEHD ’20, Career Center Graduate Assistant