What Employers Want You to Know at the Job Fair

By: McKenzie

Editor’s Note: McKenzie recently attended a C&IS student employee training featuring a panel of employers who regularly recruit UMD students. Here is what she learned.

Navigating job fair season can be a nerve-wracking and stressful time. Even seasoned pros get the jitters about all the career-related possibilities a job fair has in store. However, what if there was a way to ease the nerves? Turns out you are in luck because there is, in fact, a way to take on this task.

What employers want you to know at the job fair

Do Your Research
Employers unanimously agree knowing a thing or two about the company is completely awesome. It shows initiative and genuine interest in the company. When recruiters know you have an interest in the company, the conversation becomes more worthwhile and you can get better insight because of the questions you ask.

Ask Questions
If you have done your research then this one is a no-brainer. Trust me, recruiters have been giving the same spiel about their company all day so changing it up a little bit can go a long way. Not only does it help you learn more detailed information about the company, it also allows employers to gauge opportunities which may best fit you.

Recruiters Can’t Always Take Your Resume
This is a big one! I have heard it from recruiters myself. They may not be able to take your resume and this can be really confusing for students. Some recruiters can work with your resume to help you find matching jobs within the company, but even if they take your resume it does not guarantee you a position. Most companies have an online system they use for applications now so it is important to make sure you communicate with recruiters to learn the best ways to apply for opportunities in their company.

Fill Out the Entire Application
Although you may not apply for jobs online at the job fair, it is still important to remember to fill out their application completely. Many applicants do not fill out an online application to its full extent or put information such as, “see resume” and this is a really great way to end up at the bottom of the list of applicants. Be sure to fully answer questions on applications, even if it is the millionth job you have applied for today. Companies will not ask questions if they are not interested in the answer.

Dress For the Job You Want
It’s the age-old saying, “Dress for the job you want, not the one you have,” and it still tends to ring true. If you are attending the job fair to work in a business where you are expected to dress business casual daily then it would be in your best interest to dress for the job. It never hurts to set a good first impression.

Job hunting can feel scary, but it’s not. If you come to the job fair prepared with a plan then you are in for some smooth sailing. Whether it is your first time at fair or your last time, it is better to be there than not. You have already shown your interest by being present so get on it and get out there.

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STEM Major Preps for UMN Job Fair

By: Kirsi

Student talking with employer at job fair

I missed UMD’s E-Fest, UMD’s STEM Fair, and UMN’s College of Science and Engineering Fair. I still want a summer internship. WHAT SHOULD I DO?!

Despite lacking “STEM” in the name, UMN’s Job and Internship Fair is an excellent place to land a technical summer internship.

UMN Job & Internship Fair with Minnesota Map

 1) Excused Absence
I know, Monday, the worst day the Fair could happen. I panicked too with a sinking feeling that I would need to request excused absences from my professors. Here is an example email…

“Hello,
I would like to attend the U of MN Job & Internship Fair in the Twin Cities on Monday, February 26th. This would require missing our mandatory attendance lecture and quiz. Would attendance of this Job Fair qualify for an excused absence? I can either take the quiz before this day or the next during your office hours.
Other students in your classes may be busing down to the Cities too as it is the last major job fair before the summer.
Thanks”

2) Register
Since we all earn UMN diplomas, in the end, all UMN system students are invited to attend the fair. Luckily for us UMD students, there is a free bus that can transport us to the fair (and back if desired). To reserve a place on the bus sign up at Solon Campus Center 22 with a $10 deposit (which gets refunded the day of the fair).

If you pre-register for the fair on GoldPASS you get a free professional photo and a free box lunch!

3) Find Employers
With logistics locked down, time to focus the job fair day game plan. First I found the list of employers who will be recruiting. Use filters to sort what positions are open. Readjust filters if no results are found. Not all employees include which majors/ industries they are looking for.

After reviewing the list of employers, there were obvious tech companies that stood out such as Honeywell and Ziegler CAT. However, there are companies that don’t look high-tech on the outside that are in major need of “STEM-pertise” such as Target Corporation and Hormel Foods. Once you have chosen your top employers get acquainted with them by; looking on their website, connecting with them on LinkedIn, and Google sort for related news stories.

There is a mobile guide for the UMN Job Fair your can download to plan your day.

  1. Download the U of MN App for Apple or Android (it’s free!).
  2. Once downloaded, Search for “job”.
  3. Select “University of Minnesota Job & Internship Fair 2018” and explore!

List of companies recruiting for computers and tech

4) Your Job Fair Equipment
Build a resume. Print plenty of copies. Check for simple spelling and grammar errors.
Pick out an outfit. De-wrinkle your clothes. Smell hygienic.
Practice elevator speech. Seriously. Practice what you’re going to say.
Practice interview questions. Practice technical and coding interviews.

5) Stay Up To Date!
Follow University of Minnesota Job and Internship Fair on…
Facebook, Instagram, Twitter
Hint…leading up to the Fair you can find Industry graphics, like the Computers & Tech one above, being released each day on the Fair’s social media accounts.

Good luck!

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My Internship Story

By: Heidi

After recently finding out and accepting my first internship offer, I thought I would share my story of the whole process. It all starts with how I found out about the company. When I heard about Andersen Corporation for the first time, it was when they came to my organizational behavior management class to talk about the company and internship opportunities for the next summer. I knew with it being junior year, it was time to get down to business with internships. I listened to what the speakers had to say about their experience and enjoyment of the company, and by the end of class, I decided I would go to the table in LSBE (our business school) and talk more with the recruiters about setting up an interview.

"Since I went in with this 'nothing to lose' mentality, I told myself I was going to be the most honest version of myself in this interview, allowing myself the opportunity to make a genuine connection."

I approached the table and spoke with one of the recruiters. I introduced myself with my name and saying I was a student who was in the class they just spoke in. Looking at the interview sign up sheet it was a little intimidating knowing I had a long day ahead of me next. Although I am not much of a morning person, I signed up for the first interview at 8 am the next day.

I went home that night knowing I was going to need to update my resume, scrape up a new cover letter specific to this interview, and do more research on the company. By the time I finished my resume and cover letter it was a little too late in the night to email it to the interviewer in my opinion, so naturally, I printed off three copies of each just in case. I did my research on the company from their website on the variety of information offered, taking notes so I could really get the information in my head. The following morning I woke up early getting dressed in an outfit I had previously laid out the night before to prevent last-minute scrambling, packed a lunch, along with extra clothes for the night because I knew I was going to be on campus until about 8 pm due to sorority recruitment we had going on that week.

Internship Interview Tips

I went into my interview with the mindset that I had “nothing to lose” with this being my first internship interview ever, and also at the beginning of my junior year. Since I went in with this “nothing to lose” mentality, I told myself I was going to be the most honest version of myself in this interview, allowing myself the opportunity to make a genuine connection. At the end of the interview, I asked questions that were important to me such as how she felt being represented as a female in her company as well as her experience being an intern and moving up in the company into a full-time role. The next day I followed up the interview with a personalized email touching on things we talked about in the interview as well as thanking her for her time.

I believe the most important thing when it comes to interviewing is to be your most genuine and authentic self. It allows you to really make a connection with an employer to see if you would both be a good fit for each other. Professionally speaking when it comes to the interview process, my advice would be to always do your research on the company, give it a chance, and set yourself up for success.  

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Photo Source: Usplash | Vincent Versluis & Takemaru Hirai

Informational Interviewing Got Me an Internship

By: McKenzie

About a year ago I came across a subject that I had never heard of before. It’s called Informational Interviewing. When I first encountered discussion around this topic I was rightly skeptical. I thought to myself, “Who would want to talk to me (a stranger) about themselves,” and funny enough the answer is: a lot of people. And so I began my journey. I’ve always been a pretty curious person. I thoroughly enjoy getting to know about people and the lives they lead. Turns out Informational interviewing is PERFECT for me.

Benefits of informational interviewing

Here’s why you should try it too:

You learn for FREE
Getting out there and talking to people is a free, interactive way to gain knowledge. You can gain insights into how people pursue their careers, in what ways they gained experience, and suggestions for how you can be a marketable candidate for a similar position.

It’s practice
You may not think it at first, but informational interviewing will help you practice for interviews in the future. For starters, you learn what it’s like to be on the other side of the table. You realize that the person interviewing might just be as nervous as you and it can be helpful to empathize with the fact that we’re all human. Secondly, informational interviews have a tendency to open a space for you to talk about yourself as well which can bring about other opportunities.

Connections are made
The interview often turns into a conversation between two professionals which can have its perks. You develop a more professional connection with the person. For example, when I conducted an informational interview the interviewee had seen my LinkedIn profile since that’s how I reached out to her. At the end of the interview, she began to ask me questions about my aspirations and career plans. After communicating my goals with her she knew of an internship position that was within my interests and suggested that I apply.

Finding a possible mentor
The biggest thing that I have gained from informational interviewing was not the internship I obtained following the interview. Although the internship was one of the best experiences I could have asked for, it was still a temporary experience. My supervisor and informational interviewee became my mentor and she continues to guide me in my professional pursuits. This is something that has continued to benefit me even though the internship has ended.

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Photo source: Unsplash | Carolina Bonito

Turning Your Internship Into a Job

By: Whitney

Once upon a time, I wrote a blog post about my experience as the C&IS Intern. After loving my internship, I was reluctant to leave, so I’m back in a new role at the front desk! If you are going into an internship or want to turn your internship into a job, I’ve highlighted a few tips below to help you capitalize on this opportunity. Forbes and The Wishington Post (Washington Intern Student Housing) have also offered up some tips so that you can turn your internship into a job as well.

Transitioning your internship into a job truly starts with your internship. Ever heard sayings like “an internship is really just a drawn-out interview”? The heart of the matter is that how you behave as an intern is an indication to your supervisor and co-workers what it may be like to work with you as official staff. The process of being an intern doesn’t need to be as nerve-wracking as an interview, however.

TIPS

  1. Your internship IS your job. This means doing things like showing up on time consistently, dressing the part, and saying goodbye to personal social media while at work. Being new in any job has its moments of discomfort, but chances are you have been building these foundational skills for professionalism for years before this.
  2. Get to know all of your colleagues and fellow interns. This is code for networking. This part is scariest for me. In my first real job, my workplace would occasionally hold picnics for the daycare staff, students, and their families to attend. I was never required to go, but wish that I would have. Going would have given me an opportunity to build stronger relationships with the parents and staff, instead of simply knowing them on a more superficial level. Working together means seeing those people every day for a number of months, or years, so working becomes its own community (a professional one). Doing so will make you a part of the office and is also helpful in getting a job post-internship.
  3. One of the things The Wishington Post recommended, is to have a professional mentor within the workplace. Someone you feel comfortable with that can help you transition between student intern to employee. In my internship, that person was mainly my site supervisor. She was a great person to ask questions of and helped me to make sure I was learning about the field as well as the specific areas I was interested in.
  4. Ask questions and take initiative. Sometimes people don’t ask questions for fear of looking incompetent, but good question asking shows that you are interested and willing to learn. Asking about opportunities is something that can help you in and outside of your internship. Instead of waiting for work to be handed to you ask to be involved, without overexerting yourself. Forbes suggests you familiarize yourself with other departments as well. This may be helpful if, like me, your job ends up being a slightly different role than your internship. Asking about additional opportunities after my internship is how I found out about the front desk.

If you have an internship, congratulations! Know that the company chose you as much as you chose to work for the company. You are there to learn and also have many valuable skills to bring to the table! Your work as an intern is important.

And because I am such a fan of motivational quotes here is one to inspire you:
“It always seems impossible until it’s done”—Nelson Mandela

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If You’re Afraid of Networking then You’re Doing it WRONG

By: McKenzie

TRUE/FALSE: Networking is shady.
ANSWER: FALSE

TRUE/FALSE: Networking is scary.
ANSWER: FALSE

It came as a shock to me when I learned that many people I know perceive networking as a scary or shady activity. As I watched my colleagues engage with peers, professors, and community members I began to wonder, “Why do people associate such negativity with networking?”. Is the issue rooted in our fear of being rejected or possibly the media’s portrayal of the way to the top being a competitive game of knocking down others? I cannot say for certain where this fear comes from, however, I can say this: You are almost ALWAYS networking.

Networking. It's kind of a big deal.

I want you to think of your average day. Imagine yourself at your job or if you’re a student picture yourself at school. Consider all of the tasks you will complete, but more importantly, think about all the people who you have come into contact with today. Networking is not scary because we do it all the time. When the average person thinks about networking they often draw up images of stiff “networking” events where everyone stands locked to the wall staring anxiously at each other like middle schoolers at a dance. You came. You did nothing. You left. And you probably didn’t get much out of it. But the reality is that we are constantly networking. Unless you work from home and don’t contact anyone beyond sending your work in or you live a life of complete isolation, you are always creating contacts.

The hardest part of networking is taking the initiative to really get to know someone. Often times, our networks are full of people who have what we want or know someone who does. It’s just a matter of asking the right questions to the right people. I found a contact at Google because I happened to mention to my mom that I was interested in learning more about the company. She informed me that I already knew a family friend whose son works there and guided me to where I could find their contact information. It was then in my hands to take hold of the opportunity to reach out to them.

Getting rejected might be the scariest part about networking. I wasn’t sure that our family friend would agree to leverage her relationship with her son to get us in contact. When I messaged her I could only hope she would. And she did. The piece to always remember is that the worst thing someone will say is, “no.” and in the grand scheme of things that is really not so bad. It just means getting right back up and trying again. I have asked many people in my life to get me in touch with one of their contacts and I have only been told no once. It wasn’t scary at all. It’s a good trait to be curious about people’s lives and how they lead them. We can learn a lot from each other that way. If you aren’t sure where to start then try asking them for an informational interview because it’s pretty easy for people to talk about themselves and they anticipate that you want to learn more about them. I believe in you so get up, get out there, and start networking!

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Finally Getting the Internship

By: Cassie

If you have read my last few posts, you’ll remember how I’ve been really struggling to get an internship. Well, I thought you should know I did the impossible! I finally lined up an internship for this upcoming fall and let me tell you it feels SO good. I am definitely not trying to rub it in anyone’s face, I am just here to tell you the hard work did pay off. Here are a few tips that I can give you about finally clinching that internship.

Don’t get discouraged!
Yes, it is a long process. Yes, you’re going to be frustrated. Yes, you are going to get emails and phone calls explaining why you didn’t get the position. BUT, you have to use these things to make you stronger. You have to adjust your thinking to really see the positives of the situation. If you don’t get a position you really wanted, use that as motivation for the future and apply for the next year. If you don’t have enough experience, make sure you really start putting yourself out there. You can do it, just don’t let it get you down if you don’t get it on your first try.

NETWORKING, NETWORKING, NETWORKING
You probably get this pounded into your head by all of your professors, counselors, parents, and peers. Well, you know what, THEY ARE RIGHT. LISTEN TO THEM. I was able to get my internship by going to my professor’s office hours. He got to know me and then remembered he knew someone who has been working in the field I would like to go into. A couple emails later and I was in their office for an interview. NEVER turn down the ability to get your name out there and ALWAYS put your best foot forward.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help!
It is a tough process and getting help can really give you a new perspective on the situation. By talking through the process with one of our counselors, one of your peers, or a professor you have a good relationship with can be really beneficial. Sometimes you just need to be reminded of how awesome you really are!

Make sure to say thank you!
Going back to my last point, definitely use those around you as a support system – but never forget to say thank you! Say thank you to all the people who help you along the way to show how much you truly appreciate what they did! Also, make sure to say thank you to the companies and people you reach out to, even if they say no, to show that you are grateful for their time and effort! A little thank you email, call, or letter goes a long way!

Hopefully, these tips help! I am always here to talk you through the process and so is everyone here at Career and Internship Services! We want you to succeed and we know you can! So go get those internships Bulldogs! We believe in you!

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