This Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, the Career Center will hold its first major Career Fair of the year - and personally, I am slightly freaking out! Why? Before I began my job as a Peer Advisor at the Career Center, I knew next to nothing about, and was hesitant to attend, a Career Fair. (Well, unless you count my freshman year as I quickly poked my head in and left soon after...)
But this year, my hesitation vanished. I spoke to my friends and advisors, and conducted my own online research, slowly getting acquainted with Career Center fairs. I learned various tips and tricks about the importance of career fairs and how to maximize the time I spend while attending one. Some things I would have never thought of, and I am happy I get to share this information with my friends here at Cal!
As a new peer advisor at the Career Center, I expressed my main concern to my mother: How do I provide the most support to students planning to attend a career fair? She told me to remember the six P’s she taught me while growing up: Prior, Proper, Planning Prevents a Poor Performance. Then, I realized that knowing those who might attend future fairs also meant I should examine a few frequently asked questions readily answered. Lo and behold, the Career Center has a link for that! Just login to Callisto with your student username and password, go the right hand banner, click 'Career Fairs,' and select 'Cal Career Fair.' Once there, you have access to a list of ALL the companies on their way to Cal! Now, here's your chance to devise a plan and make your best impression! One tip counselors suggest is to visit your favorite company last. In this way, you can get as much practice talking to other recruiters and iron out the wrinkles as you learn to communicate to employers at a career fair. In addition, remember: recruiters are people, too, and the best way to connect with folks is to have a good ol’ fashioned, down-to-earth conversation. If all goes well, the recruiter will be more than happy to look at your resume.
Along with dressing sharply and speaking smoothly, your resume needs to top notch. But how can you get your resume up to par with only two days left until the September Career Fair begins? You guessed it! There's a link for that, too! Simply visit to the Career Center homepage, click 'Internships,' and select 'Resumes and Letter Writing' to start off your journey. After constructing a resume on your own, come to the Career Center and ask a Peer Advisor to review it! We'll even give you some extra tips to boost your potential for success at a Career Fair. If you wish to have further critique, then a 15 minute appointment with a Counselor should do the trick (appointments can be made easy peasy online! 'Career Center Homepage' > 'Counselors' > 'Make an Appoinment.')For further resume help, our FREE Job and Internship Guides (J.I.Gs) do wonders! It has great tips on how to spice up a resume, and even real examples of prime resumes. Feel free to grab one at the Career Center! Not only will you be killing the game with your style and speech, but on paper with your resume as well! Resume building and attending a Career Fair may seem like a daunting, I know. But, it is essential to the college experience, and should not be missed. Take a chance and head on over. As someone once told me, "The worst thing a recruiter can say is no; but if you don’t go, there is no opportunity for a recruiter to say yes." And remember, us Peer Advisors are here at the Career Center, and will be there at the fair, to lend you a hand and provide words of encouragement for the big day. The tips and resources at the Career Center helped me, and I'm certain that they will help you. Please leave comments down below if you have any questions or concerns, or if you have any special tips on how to thrive at a Career Center. Also, let us know if these tips worked for you. Good luck, and we hope to see you soon!
-Valerie Cordier- Rice
You stressed over your resume before the fair, and when it finally arrived, you strode into the RSF in attire that made you look sharp and fabulous. You've made some good impressions, connected with a lot of people, and now that it's over, you think it’s time to wait and triddle your thumbs while the recruiters look over the resumes and make decisions on who they want to interview.
Think again! And READ ON...
Now that you've talked to the recruiters and handed them your resume, made connections and obtained some business cards or contact information, it's time to continue the conversation that started at the career fair table of the employers.
How? Through email!
It’s a good habit to have to follow up after you’ve talked to your recruiters, reminding them of who you are and of your interest in their company. By giving you their card, the recruiter has invited you to contact them in the future, and why not grab the chance? A simple email will let them know that your interest and enthusiasm for the position you are applying for still stands even after the career fair is over. In the email, recap the conversation you had with your recruiter to remind them of who you are (recruiters meet a lot of people during recruitment season). You can simply follow up to say thank you, or even ask them follow up questions. Keep in mind though to check back to their website for generic questions. You want to keep the questions in your email specific and related to the conversation you had with your recruiter.
Also, be patient!
Even if you send them an email right after the Career Fair, don’t expect a reply right away. Some “thank you” emails may go unanswered, but they are received and noted. Remember to leave YOUR contact information at the bottom of every email as well.
Best of luck during this recruiting season!
Blog written by: Adeline Kim, Political Science/Korean '15
Going to the Career Fair may be difficult, especially if you've never been to one before.
But no worries, your peer advisor Jiwon's got your back!
Here are five steps to best prepare yourself for the Career Far:
1. Research 4-6 companies that you want to check out. Callisto will have the list of companies coming to the Career Fair at least three weeks before the day of the fair. Make sure you learn what the company's goals are, how the company was founded, any recent news about the company, etc.
2. Prepare extra resumes to take to the fair so that you can make an impression! Oh, and don't forget to dress appropriately! Many people just hand their resumes to the recruiters without talking to them. DON'T DO THAT. You need to make a conversation with the recruiters AND THEN hand in your resume. Be really grateful for their time!
3. Know what you're going to ask ahead of time. Don't ask a generic question that shows you know nothing about their company, like "What is your company about?" How much do you like the question "Tell me about yourself?" That's like the most general question you can ever ask ANYONE! Don't ask the recruiter that! Instead, start off by asking a friendly question like, "How was flying out to California?"
And then jump into, my name is ____ and I'm really interested in knowing more
about x, y, z of your company. May I take 15 minutes of your time?
4. Listen carefully. Don't look around when the recruiter is speaking. Engage in the conversation for 5-10 minutes and ask meaningful questions!
5. After the conversation, shake the recruiter's hand and make sure that person remembers you! Ask for a business card. Don't be pushy. Just be grateful and make sure you thank the recruiter for his/her time and advice.
Blog written by: Jiwon Moon, Economics '13
I still remember the day a frustrated student walked up to me at a career fair and said, “You know, these career fairs are so useless for me. I can never find any jobs related to my field.” I soon realized that this was a common belief/concern of many students who weren’t pursuing a career in, oh let’s say, accounting, banking, consulting, or software engineering.
However, I truly believe that, no matter what your field or interests are, your experience at a career fair depends greatly on your mentality and attitude. Whether or not career fairs have job openings that spell out your dream job word-for-word, it’s important to remember that they are a great place to start networking and finding resources that will guide you to your final destination.
If you can’t seem to find a specific position at a career fair but spot an organization in an accessible location and relevant industry with an excellent reputation and mission/values that speak to you, I strongly encourage you to develop your own position! It may take more time and effort, but a job that is tailored to your own academic and career goals can be much more meaningful than one that is “close enough." If you want more tips on developing your own internship, check out one of our recent peer blog entries.
Matt Youngquist, the president of Career Horizons, states that, “At least 70 percent, if not 80 percent, of jobs are not published. And yet most people — they are spending 70 or 80 percent of their time surfing the net versus getting out there, talking to employers..." (NPR). It’s probably in your best interest to go network with employers at career fairs. Introduce yourself, discuss your interests, ask questions, and ask for references or contact information of professionals they know in your field of interest. You will be surprised by how much most employers want to help guide students! For more information on the importance of networking, you can listen to this amazing NPR episode.
So turn that frown upside down, and take ownership of your career/future.
Make sure to check out the many videos on the UC Berkeley Career Center's YouTube Channel, including the following on how networking can contribute to your job search!
Blog written by: Ye Sil Kim, Sociology ’13
Hopefully you had the chance to attend our Diversity Career Fair last month and our Internship and Summer Job Fair this week. (Incase you didn’t, we will be hosting one each month for the remainder of the semester. Check out the schedule here!) Now that you’ve had an opportunity to interact with employers and recruiters and hand out your resume, you should just sit back and wait for them to contact you, right? The answer is NO, at least not if you’re serious about securing a position for yourself. It’s great that you've made a contact, but you need to put in more effort to turn it into a connection.
Immediately after a career fair, the first thing you should do is send an email to each person you spoke to. This should be done within 48 hours of the fair at the latest but the sooner, the better. Thank them for taking the time to speak with you and reference conversation points if possible to jog their memory. Recruiters speak to many students at these fairs, so you want to make sure you leave a lasting impression.
In the days following the fair, be sure to take any steps the recruiter may have told you about applying to the organization or position. For example, they may require an application through their website or use On-Campus Recruiting. Don’t forget to check Callisto for possible job listings the company may have posted specifically for Cal students. While you’re logged in, take a look at the list of upcoming on-campus info sessions for a chance to reconnect with an employer or company. Getting connected with multiple people at one company, as well as having many interactions with the same person, can improve your chances of securing a job offer.
In the next few weeks and even months, keep in touch with the contacts you have made. If you are serious about building relationships with them, continue interacting with them and ask questions as you research the company. You can ask if they have recommendations for other professionals in your areas of interest. Informational interviews are an excellent way to network and gain valuable information.
Followed these steps but still need help? Feel free to go online and make an appointment with a counselor -- these appointments can be used for resume and cover letter critiques, mock interviews, and job search questions.
If you have additional questions, check out the following video on Career Fair Don'ts from the UC Berkeley Career Center's very own YouTube Channel!
Blog written by: Sogole Taba, Integrative Biology '14
Some people attend career fairs with the assumption that they’ll be placed in a job or internship if they just show up, but it’ll be much more worthwhile for both you and the employer if you spend some time preparing before the fair. With the Internship and Summer Job fair coming up on February 20th and 21st, here are some tips and resources to help you get started:
1. Make a list of employers.
There are currently over 150 employers signed up to participate in the Internship and Summer Job fair. Review the directory of these employers using Callisto, and make a list of employers you are interested in. Remember: Talking to the few employers you researched beforehand may be better than trying to approach every employer at the fair.2. Prepare questions to ask.
Meeting representatives of companies at a career fair is a great way for them to learn about you, but it’s also an opportunity for you to learn more about a particular position or company. Asking specific questions shows that you did some research in advance, and it also shows your interest in the company.
3. Prepare a resume.
Have your resume critiqued by a counselor during a mini-appointment. If possible, try to tailor your resume to a particular industry, company, or position, and bring multiple copies of your resume to the career fair. Some employers might not be collecting resumes so always ask before handing it to them. Approach the employer, talk to them, then ask if they’re collecting resumes.
4. Develop a 30 second introduction.
Prepare a short introduction in advance. It you’re nervous, you can practice your “pitch” beforehand, but also remember to not sound too structured or robotic. Be yourself, and think of it as a conversation!
Attending career fairs is just like any other internship or job search strategy. You need to prepare in advance, and it may take some time. While you might not be handed an internship or job at the fair, meeting the employer is the first step in your internship or job search. We also encourage you to watch the following video on making the most of a career fair, which is from the UC Berkeley Career Center's very own YouTube channel!
Blog written by: Ann Suh, Statistics '14
For the average student, the thought of having to approach an employer at a career fair can be quite intimidating. Here are a few simple steps to make conversing with employers a breeze!
Step 1: Prepare before the career fair. Be sure to create a plan of which companies you want to approach and bring copies of a prepared resume! It's crucial to do research beforehand on the attending organizations that interest you and keep yourself up-to-date on their hiring processes.
Step 2: Be assertive without being rude. You want to maximize your time at the career fair and show the employer that you're able to take initiative. There is a fine line between being rude and being confident, so make sure you're sensitive to others' feelings and needs.
Step 3: Have a 30 second introduction. Create an introduction of yourself, your career goals, your work values and interests, and your skills/experience and rehearse this pitch before going out and talking to employers.
Step 4: Ask questions. Have questions prepared ahead of time to ask employers. Some examples are: What qualities and background experience are you looking for in an ideal candidate? How can my skills fit into your organization? An example of an inappropriate question to ask is one about salary or benefits -- these types of inquiries should wait until after you've received a job offer!
Step 5: Listen. Not only should you market your best skills, but you should also listen to others around you at the fair to gather relevant information. Giving others an opportunity to speak is just as important as making your own voice heard!
Step 6: Make connections. If possible, make sure that employers get your contact information -- one way to do this is by leaving your resume with them. Additionally, ask for a business card so that you also have a way to reach them.
Step 7: Follow up after the fair. Make sure to contact employers you spoke to after the fair and thank them for their time. This is essential for you to continue networking and forming relationships that can help advance your career in the future.
Hopefully reading these steps helped you build the confidence necessary to successfully network with recruiters! In case you'd like more pointers before heading out, I highly recommend that you check out the resources available on our website catered specifically towards career fairs, which include helpful tips and fun online workshops. Good luck impressing employers at your next fair!Blog written by: Kerri Fazzino, Environmental Economics '13
Welcome back! Although we have just started school, you probably have noticed many students walking around campus in their best business attire, hair nicely combed, and with a portfolio in hand. Errrhh, that’s weird, wonder where these folks are going? Well if you weren’t aware, recruitment and employment has kicked into high season! Yep, that’s right there are various career fairs happening almost every week on campus. Why so early you may ask? Well these employers are especially interested in Cal Students and want to recruit as many junior associates or other entry-level positions as soon as they can before they lose you to someone else once you graduate. Not to mention, it also gives you a sense of relief knowing that you have something lined up for you after you graduate.
Even in this tough economy, there are jobs out there waiting for you. However, it’s not as easy as standing in line and filling out a form to get that job. There are some important preparation steps to take before you even step foot inside that career fair or participate in on campus recruiting..
The following are some great tips that can help you get the most out of a career fair:
Research the company. That doesn’t mean just read the job description, but really investigate. See what they are up to. Are there upcoming projects that you can see yourself really being into? Have you conducted informational interviews with people in that company to truly see if that's a place you could see yourself?
What’s your pitch? It might seem quite scary to go into a room full of people especially people who are scouting for future employees and try and make yourself stand out. Here’s what I have to say about that: be yourself, and let the recruiter know who you are, what you’re interested in and how you can possibly seeing yourself be a great match to their company. Recruiters are there to be the friendly face of the company, so don’t be afraid of them. Their job is to be as nice as they can to recruit as many applicants as possible. Their friendliness makes it easier on you to make a great impression.
Always be friendly. The Recruiters are your inside point person to all the positions that are going to be available. Inside one company, there are so many different kinds of careers and positions that it's a good idea to just check out a company even if it is not the exact company or industry you were interested in.
Dress professionally! Recruiters can tell when they see that you have put effort and thought into your outfit. You’ll also stand out compared to the other students who just are in campus casual clothing. You want every opportunity you can get to make that lasting positive first impression!
Have lots of copies of your resume on hand! Once you make that bond with a recruiter, its always best to back it up with a resume. Make sure you proof read your resume and if you have time have it checked and reviewed by a career counselor or a peer advisor!
Have fun! The more fun you have inside that career fair, meeting people, learning about new job opportunities, scoring free swag, the easier and less nerve wracking this whole searching for a job thing will be.
Hope these few tips will help you out and be sure to check out all the career fairs and even grad school fairs that we have coming up this semester!
Enjoy your semester and always remember that the career center is a resource you should utilize while at Cal.
Blog written by Chika Kondo, 3rd year Political Science and Society & Environment Major
Sometimes, the best networking practice is to assume the role of a person who does not even know the meaning of networking. In other words, not acting like you are trying to network or push to receive any sort of benefit from the person you are talking to is an effective way to stand out to professionals and potential colleagues. By approaching the idea of “networking” with key people through a different frame than the average job hunter, you will be one of the faces he or she remembers long after you hand them your resume. Asking unexpected, even unrelated, questions at a career fair or getting to personally know someone on a non-career level over coffee are just a couple examples of networking practices that may not involve the discussion of work at all.
“It is not what you know, but who you know” is a common quotation brought up when people speak to the value of networking, and it is backed by the fact that most jobs today are still staffed through connections and prior relationships. In the end this is understandable, as recruiters are swimming in stacks of fine-tuned (and even professionally crafted) resumes and cover letters that can be most-differentiated by a personal reference. People today, however, and eager college students in particular tend to think this simply means they should meet and talk to as many people as they can while being as enthusiastic as they can to each recruiter. Oftentimes, however, they come off too strong or become just another face in the crowd. Maintaining a laid-back persona while asking unique questions will often take you farther than a perfect GPA or impressive leadership position. These recruiters work day in and day out hearing the same things from the same type of people, and being that breath of fresh air will make you memorable.
A few examples of how to stand out to a job recruiter at a career fair or networking event include: asking how their day has been (you will be surprised, many people don’t take the time to ask this simple question), and if they look like they enjoyed answering that question you can go a step farther by briefly mentioning an eventful thing that has happened to you; talking slow and showing a relaxed smile will ensure that you look at ease rather than strained, stressed, or overeager; talk to them as if you are meeting a friend of a friend for the first time—do not jump into the nitty gritty details about finding a job or what the company has to offer—give them more background about yourself (for example, tell them why you are interested in this particular career field and explain why you want to learn more about it through them). In the end, maintaining a balance between looking genuinely interested in what the recruiter is saying and looking relaxed enough to actually ponder the things they say to you will go a long way. If you walk away feeling like you would want to be your friend if you were the recruiter, you’ve done your job. That is the practice of forming a true “network” of relationships with professionals.
The graduate school career center fair is just around the corner and you are probably wondering how you can get ready for the fair, what to do at the fair, and how to follow up. Here are some suggestions. Checking out Callisto is the first step: there is a Graduate School Fair tab you can click. Once there you will find the names of all the universities that will be represented at this event. Also, since the graduate school fair is a two day event, check which schools are there on which days to make you see graduate schools of interest to you.
Even though it is not a career fair or internship fair, it is still important to dress nicely when going to the graduate school fairs and practice giving a strong handshake. If possible I would encourage you to be at the graduate school fair once it starts, that is if your schedule allows it, because that is when you have the most chance of having a nice chat with the representative of the university you are most interested in. Remember to ask for business cards or ask the representative to write down the best way to reach him/her if you should have future questions. Realistically students will not have enough time to visit all the tables and build a strong connection with all of the graduate school representatives. Keep it in mind that there will be many other students at the graduate school fair wanting to have time with graduate school representatives as well. I encourage you to plan ahead! Think about who you are going to talk with, what questions you are going to ask, and do some research on the universities if possible. In addition, coming up with a set of questions to ask graduate university representatives is a great way to start a conversation and show that you are serious about attending a specific university. Some sample questions are:
Finally, once the career fair is over follow up with the university representatives by sending an e-mail thanking them for the time and help. Reiterate your interest in the program and explain what types of involvement and/or coursework you have been involved with that will help support your interest in a specific career goal. Sometimes asking more questions about the program itself can be a great way to have the university representative continue speaking with you after the fair. If you know when you will be applying mention that as well. Those are at least a few suggestions on how to approach a graduate school fair, just remember to have a fun!
Post by Rosario Jimenez, 4th year Ethnic Studies major.
After celebrating with friends and family, and gaining 5-10
pounds after the holidays, it soon will be time to get back to
First off, completely forget about all the other
It is always important to remember that the employers are
people too, and chatting with them as such is a big plus in your exploration
process. Ask them what they do for the company specifically; some may hold
positions that will give you more material for conversation. I once started a
great conversation with an employer because of the free umbrellas they were
handing out at their table……I mean who doesn’t want a free umbrella? If you
stand there and list off questions as if you were a futuristic automaton devoid
of any pretence at a human conversation, the employer might be put off. If
there is a gigantic line to speak with someone popular, and of interest to you,
try and wait it out or arrive early in the morning because as most of us know,
Good luck to all of you! Don’t forget to look at the list of upcoming Career Fairs for the Spring and mark your calendars now! And remember, if you have any questions at all, please post them in “comments”. We Peer Advisors are here to help!