Have no fear, I am here to help!! 🙂
The Ag Career Fair will be held on October 7th, 2015 in the Grand Ballroom located on the 2nd floor of the Union.
Attending the career fair can be a very stressful time for students looking for internships or full time jobs after graduation. There is no need to worry however, because if you properly prepare you can eliminate any potential problems that you may encounter. There are 4 essential steps to preparing for a career fair and they are as follows: research the companies attending, update and polish your resume, create an elevator speech and dress appropriately.
Research: It is very important to take the time ahead of the career fair to research the companies that will be attending. The School of Ag office here at Western is very good about sending out the list of employers attending in advance. This
list is very handy, as you can create a “game plan” prior to walking in the door. You can eliminate the companies that you are not interested in and focus on visiting only with those that meet your criteria. The companies will be impressed with you already knowing a little about what they do and what type of company they are, and it will also help you to carry on a conversation.
Resume: This one sheet of paper is what can instantly make or break whether you are asked to interview. An employer only has a very limited amount of time to look over your resume and decide whether you go in the “Yes Pile” or the “No Pile.” It is important to have a resume that is easy to read and is relevant to the company you are speaking with. A great resource to help format a great resume is the Career Development Center in Memorial Hall. This office is specifically for students to use to better prepare themselves for the working world and it is free to use. They can set up an appointment to meet with you to look over and help make corrections to your resume.
Elevator Speech: The first thing that you do when approaching an employer at the career fair is shaking his or her hand and introducing yourself. A first impression can mean so much and it is crucial to prepare ahead of time to make yours memorable. An elevator speech is the first 30 seconds when you introduce yourself, say where you are from, what your interests are, and why you are speaking with them. When you think these things out ahead of time it prevents any awkward pauses and eliminates you trying to think on the spot. Once you create an elevator
speech that you feel is adequate, practice your speech to your friends, and make any changes that they may suggest. Lastly, practice saying your speech into a mirror. Yes, this will seem rather funny, but it is important to know what this employer is looking at while you talk and facial expressions can make or break your speech.
Professional Dress: A business suit and tie is what is recommended and appropriate for men to wear and a skirt or pants suit for women. The key is to find dress clothes that are conservative and comfortable enough to be able to conduct yourself in a confident manner. When in doubt of whether something is appropriate, change. The Career Development Center also has a closet full of professional clothing that has been donated by alumni and other businesses that is up for the taking.
These are just some of the many ways that help in preparing for the career fair. If you have any further questions or are seeking any additional advice, I recommend contacting the Career Development Center.
I hope you all have a fantastic week and best of luck securing internships and full time positions!
I was born and raised on a grain and livestock operation near Buffalo, IL which is where my passion for agriculture began. I am currently a senior studying Ag Business here at Western Illinois University. I have accepted a full time position with CGB as a grain merchandising trainee following graduation in May. I received my internship which led to my full time position by attending the career fair fall of my Junior year.