Insider Tips: How to work the Career & Internship Fair (9/27)!


By Anita Manuel, Career Consultant

It’s job fair time!  The SJSU Career Center is very excited to invite current SJSU students and alumni to the largest Job & Internship Fair that we’ve hosted in the past five years.  There are 175+ employers registered to come to campus next week  (Thursday, September 27, 2:00pm – 5:00pm at Event Center (Indoors) and the Paseo de San Carlos Plaza (Outdoors) *entrance @ noon with Early Bird registrationto specifically recruit SJSU students.  This is your chance to meet directly with hiring managers and recruiters from top companies in Silicon Valley who are interested in meeting students of various majors.  In order to give you a competitive edge, we’re going to outline some top tips in preparing for this event:

1. What are employers looking for?

  • 40+ organizations are seeking accounting/finance students
  • 58% of the employers are looking for technical majors
  • 61% of the employers are looking for business majors
  • 30% of the employers are looking for liberal arts students
  • 36% of the employers are looking for all majors
  • 25% of employers offering internship opportunities
  • Attending employers represent the fields of: Technology, Business, Non-Profit, Government, Financial, Broadcast/Media, and Retail (management/sales)

It’s important to research the attending organizations before the fair so that you have a good idea of who you’d like to speak with and what positions or skills they are seeking.  The Career Center has put together a Job Fair Publication (available online through SpartaJobs) which gives you this information so you can determine which employer to visit and how to develop your targeted resume and one minute commercial (your introduction/pitch).

Access the Job Fair Publication:

  1. Go to http://www.sjsu.edu/careercenter >Student Login
  2. Select Events > Fall ‘12 Job Fair
  3. Select positions recruited
  4. Select job title of interest ( review job description— and created atargeted resume/prepare one-minute commercial)

Regardless of major or specific position, employers are looking for students who can demonstrate and articulate that they have an understanding of what their company does, can clearly state what relevant skills/strengths they have and can give examples of how they’ve used those skills/strengths to accomplish a goal.  Employers are also looking for candidates who are professional and passionate. You can express this by dressing the part and exuding confidence.  Smile, give a firm handshake and talk about why their position or industry is exciting to you.  View this clip from the last job fair which includes employer feedback on what they seek in candidates.

 For further tips on what to wear and what to say at the job fair, check out the Job Fair Success workshop.

2.  What to do when job posting information is not available?

Most employers will post the job titles or types of positions that they will be hiring for in SpartaJobs.  However, there are a few that  do not specify their open positions-what do you then?  Here are some quick tips for presenting yourself effectively when you’re not sure what positions are available:

  • Research the organization that you want to work for.  What is their mission? Who are their clients or customers? What products or services do they provide?  Get to know a little about them so you can speak intelligently about why you would want to work or intern there.  Besides going to the company website, be sure to check out the company page on LinkedIn, investigate if they have a fan page on Facebook and follow them via Twitter for up to date and targeted information.
  • Identify your skills or strengths.  What are you good at?  In which classes, or on what class projects have you excelled?  What are the accomplishments of which you are most proud?  What skills did you use to achieve them?  Being able to articulate your top three strengths with an example is a great way to showcase your unique skills that could be transferable to any organization.
  • Develop your pitch. Introduce yourself to the employer and express your interest.  Include:
  1. Your name and major
  2. Your skills and strengths
  3. An opening question

Example: “My name is Samantha Spartan and I am a junior studying psychology.  I am very interested in an internship with Company XYZ.  In researching your organization prior to the fair, I did not see a job description; however I do have strong skills which I believe would help me be an asset. In my coursework and class projects, I have found that I am very good working in teams because I am a good listener and have been able to facilitate discussions between team members to move our project forward. I have also developed strong analytical skills through my research papers.  Are there positions in your organization for someone with my skill set?  (example provided by Moira Kolasinski, Employment Specialist) 

3. Prepare questions to ask representatives

Everyone seems to know that you need to develop some sort of introduction or pitch when meeting with employers at a job fair, but what many candidates forget is that the “one minute commercial”  is actually the start of a dialogue.  They key to a good impression is to be able to engage the recruiter in a conversation versus a memorized speech.  Once you introduce yourself, then be ready to ask some specific questions of the employer so that you can engage them in conversation.  You don’t need to do all the talking–let the recruiter also share some key information that will help you determine what details are best to share with them as it relates to their needs.  For example:

  • What types of assignments are given to new graduates or interns?
  • What key skills/experiences are highly desirable to your organization at this time?
  • What are some of the current challenges or projects that your company is tackling at this time?
  • Are there areas within your organization where there is anticipated growth?
  • What type (if any) of professional growth/development opportunities are available?
  • How did you start your career with XYZ company or  What do you enjoy best about working at XYZ company?
  • When do you anticipate to hire for this position?  or What are the next steps in the hiring process?

4. Great, I’d love to come, how do I get into the fair!

Sometimes the hardest part of attending the job fair is managing the logistics of crowds and finding your top employers.  Given that this will be a large scale fair, it makes sense to prepare your game plan ahead of time.  Be sure to bring a notepad/pen for notes, several copies of your resume,  and your Tower Card (or career center membership card for alumni)  to get into the event.  A map of employer table locations will be provided upon check-in to the fair.  You will then be able to locate your top employers and do a walk through before meeting them.

“The early bird gets the worm”…or in this case “gets the interview”  is a very true statement for job fairs.  We offer an early bird entrance (12:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.) for those who have completed the online  Job Fair Success Webshop  to attend the fair and access the employers first.  There are many advantages to being the first candidates to meet employers: recruiters are fresh and excited to meet you, you have less of a crowd to manage and most importantly you have reviewed specific tips which will make you more prepared to engage employers.  Many employers have expressed that they make the most of their interview offers to those who came during the early bird session because the candidates they met at that time were the most prepared and professional.

Location & Logistics:  Thursday, 9/27 Event Center and the Paseo de San Carlos

  • *EARLY BIRD ACCESS to the Event Center from noon-2:00 p.m. (*registration online after completing Job Fair Success Webshop)
  • GENERAL ADMISSION to the Event Center: 2:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
  • No early bird registration needed on the Paseo de San Carlos, meet with employers 12:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
  • CURRENT TOWER CARD is needed for Job Fair entrance (Alumni must show Alumni Membership Card or Career Center membership card)
  • The fair is open to all current SJSU students and alumni

 BEST OF LUCK! and we’ll see you at the fair.  

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