Jan 272008
Authors: Elizabeth Ann Malen

February is Career Fair month at CSU, and the All Campus Career Fair will be on Feb. 6 and 7.

No matter where you are in your academic program and career exploration process, the fair can benefit you. Employers are coming here to your “house” to meet you, to learn about you and how you could potentially be part of their organizations. This is a great time to make contacts, build relationships an investigate job and internship opportunities.

Juniors and seniors, this is a great time to meet with employers and explore the array of career opportunities that align with your values, strengths and interests and help you zero in on your job options after graduation. Build relationships with the employer representatives here and ask questions about the culture and values of their organizations, and see how that fits for you.

Sophomores and juniors, you are in a great position to explore internship possibilities that will help you explore and refine direction(s) you would like to take your career.

Freshmen, this offers you opportunities to talk with professionals about various careers that may help you decide on majors, minors or concentration for your academic studies that will best help you prepare for careers in which you are interested.

There will be more than 160 unique employers attending over the two days of the fair with internship and job opportunities for a broad range of backgrounds and career goals.

Attend both days even if you need to pop in between classes or during your lunch hour. And come prepared so you can make that all-important great first impression.

Things to do before the fair:

Plan ahead. Look at who is coming and what positions they are recruiting for – a list is currently on the Career Center website (career.colostate.edu) and will also be in the Collegian special supplement on Feb. 4.

Identify the employers you are interested in, look at their Web sites, decide which you like best and prioritize which companies you want to talk to. When you visit with the representatives, let them know you’ve done some research to make a good impression. Links to the employer sites are included in the Employer Listings on the Career Center Web site.

Rehearse a brief introduction for yourself and what you are looking for. Add in a smile and warm handshake if this fits for you. It’s important to be yourself. Understand your competitive advantage(s) when competing for a job against your peer group – maybe that’s internship experience, a great GPA, or speaking a foreign language. If you need assistance crafting this “30-second intro,” drop in at the Career Center@Lory Student Center next to Sweet Sinsations.

Preparation the day of the fair:

Bring your resume. Many companies will want you to apply online, but be prepared for the company that wants to see your information on paper now.

Introduce yourself — be open and friendly.

Dress appropriately — this is your opportunity to make a good first impression. Business casual is preferred for the fair.

You may want to do a couple of practice interactions before introducing yourself to those employers you are most interested in.

Attend Employer Spotlights for companies that interest you. Twenty-four companies are scheduled to provide these 15-minute overviews that will give you the opportunity to learn more about the company and connect with the employer in a smaller group. The Spotlights will be spread over the two days; for further info, go to www.career.colostate.edu and/or the Career Fair pullout of the Collegian on Feb 4.

Be prepared to schedule an interview with an employer. On Feb. 8th, companies that participate in the fair have the opportunity to schedule interviews in the LSC Ballroom.

Additionally, on-campus interviewing starts in Ammons Hall the week of Feb. 11. You have to be registered in CareerRAM to access these opportunities, so be sure to register in CareerRAM (www.career.colostate.edu – click the CareerRAM graphic).

Continue the communication after the fair:

Send a thank you letter (e-mail is fine) the day after your interaction. Unless the rep specifically says that they’ll contact you, either call or email once every few weeks to express your continued interest in the position. This is an invaluable way to stand out and be noticed.

Elizabeth Ann Malen is the director of the Career Center. The Career Center runs a column occasionally in the Collegian. Letters and feedback can be sent to letters@collegian.com.

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