Whether in person or virtual, there are a few simple strategies to improve your odds of making a strong and memorable first impression with Employers–and I should know, I have been to several Boston College career fairs!
- Do more research. “Why are you interested in our organization?” A common question asked by employers and you want to be prepared to answer it. Take a look at the company website and social media presence and familiarize yourself with what they do along with their values, mission, and culture. Employers want students who are knowledgeable and enthusiastic. If you are able to find out what roles the company is recruiting for at your upcoming fair, that will help you stand out–in that case, come prepared to briefly touch on why you are interested in a specific internship or job.
- Be extra mindful of eye contact, body language, and dress. Whether in person or especially in a virtual setting, eye contact and body language are critical to ensuring strong conversation with an employer. Maintaining eye contact and good posture shows you are listening and engaged in the conversation. Be in a quiet place during your time with employers to make sure you are not distracted by things around you (put your phone away!). As always, dress to impress! Even behind a computer screen, your professionalism will be evident based on how you choose to present yourself.
- Practice how you will articulate yourself—don’t go in blind. Having a prepared elevator pitch is fantastic to quickly cover the basics, but be sure to practice so it doesn’t look like you are trying to recite a memorized script. It is also good to come ready with a few well thought out questions to ask employers (not around salary or vacation time).
- Be yourself. Remember to smile and show employers your personality. There is not always a lot of time to leave an impact, but employers remember stories, meaningful conversations, and individuals who are confident with themselves (I always remember stories that have made me laugh). Be engaged and try to shake out the nerves before approaching the booth (or camera in a virtual setting).
Finally, after leaving the employer booth (or virtual room), if you are interested in moving forward with the organization, it is recommended to send a follow up email expressing your interest and highlighting any key moments from your conversation so the employer remembers you. (Not following up from a good conversation with a recruiter is a common mistake students make!) And remember, we have all been in your shoes before so try not to be nervous! Your career search is an exciting time and one many campus recruiters are happy to be a part of.
—By Taryn Tetreault, Sr. Specialist, Talent Acquisition, Santander