Missing the Career Fair Could Mean Missed Opportunity

Missing the Career Fair Could Mean Missed Opportunity

I’ve been on both sides of the table as a student and company representative at hundreds of college, internship and career fairs. I want to let you know, missing the career fair could mean a missed opportunity for making connections, networking and information gathering.

Many college students fail to take advantage of the great opportunity these events present to meet future employers. As a college student, no matter if your school calls it a Career/Internship Fair or a Graduate School/Career Fair, you should make it your business to be there.

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Employers Are There to Meet You

Employers attend career fairs because they get to meet a variety of students from all academic backgrounds in one place. You should attend because it would otherwise be almost impossible for you to meet so many prospective employers from across the country at once. This is your shot to not just be another application on the internet, but to instead make an impression.

Beyond the obvious reasons of looking for an internship or a job, also consider attending a career fair as a chance to learn about companies and professions that you may not have previously considered, get advice from company recruiters on how to stand out, and to network.



Five Steps for Succes at a Career Fair

So what can you do if you have a career fair coming up soon on your campus? Here are five simple steps for a successful career fair experience.

    1. When you approach a company representative – smile. A smile goes a long way. By just being pleasant, smiling, and friendly you are already starting off on the right foot.
    2. Offer a firm handshake. Don’t just stand there and stare at the information on the table. Make eye contact and extend your hand for a handshake. Say your name, class year and major for starters.
    3. Dress appropriately. As boring as it may sound, dust off the suit and tie and shine those shoes. Most university career centers can give you detailed guidance on appropriate business attire for the career fair.
    4. Do your research on the companies in attendance a few days before the fair. You will be able to create a target list of companies that you want to visit first. Target lists aren’t just about hitting up the most popular companies; research is about finding companies that fit with your career or internship goals. Doing research will also help you create good questions to ask the representatives.
    5. In addition to having prepared questions for your target companies, also prepare 2-4 general questions you can ask any representative.

Career Services is Your First Stop

First things first, stop by your college career center and find out when the next event will be. While I am sure you can find that information much quicker online, if you have never visited career services then this is your motivation to go find the office.

While you are there, make an appointment to work with a career counselor or advisor to get your resume reviewed. You will need a well-crafted resume when talking to the reps from the companies at the fair. If you missed the fall fair, ask if there will be a spring event. If missed them both, then look for some public job fairs to attend to put your new skills into action. When I was in college, college fair connections led to a paid internship and a full-time job offer for me. If you know how to “work” the fair, it can be a game-changer for your internship and/or job search.

Now is the time to start looking for your summer internship. Don’t get distracted and put off your search until the spring when some of the best opportunities might be gone. Download your free Internship Manual Toolkit to get on track and stay focused on getting your dream gig.

Let’s Get it Started: Your Fall  Internship Search

Let’s Get it Started: Your Fall Internship Search

The fall semster is underway, so let’s get it started!  Doesn’t matter if it’s your first semester of college or the start of your senior year, it is time to put in the work to make your internship dreams come true.

Taking action right now gives you the chance to pick up a fall internship. In September there are still plenty of internship openings that are not filled. In the event your fall semester plate is already full, starting now gives you plenty of time to find a spring or summer 2019 gig. 

It may seem too early, but believe me it is not.  Great example of how quickly things can move, the Viacom spring 2019 internship deadline is September 30th, just about a month from today. The good news is that there are hundreds of thousands of smaller companies, mid-sized, and non-profit orgranzations that take internss all throughout the year. They key is just to get started.

An Internship is Not Optional

The first hurdle of getting started in the internship process is embracing that this is not optional, but an integral part of your college education. Employers expect you to have internship experience.

Your degree is only a piece of what makes you a candidate. Experience combined with your leadership skills, critical thinking ability, GPA, technical skills and analytical skills work together to present you as an entire package. Rarely is just having a degree, or even the college you went to enough.

On the flip side, internships give you the chance to expand your hard and soft skills while teaching you things like networking and navigating the real world of work. It was through my multiple internship experiences that I became a better writer, was exposed to a variety of work environments, and gained marketing and sales skills I didn’t get in my classes as a public relations major. You owe it to yourself to enhance your marketability by doing multiple internships. 

Check With Your Department About Course Credit

I did eight internships in college. My internships were a mixture of paid, unpaid, big company, small non-profits, some for academic credit and some not for credit. 

Every internship doesn’t have to be done for course credit, but if you can get credit, it is an absolute win-win. If you can get an internship, academic credit and get paid, that it is a win-win-win.

Some majors or departments won’t let you do an internship for credit until a certain point in your degree program. That’s fine, set your sights on a paid internship and unpaid as a last resort. Then do another when you get to that point in your degree program.

In a lot of majors, you can do an internship at anytime. Visit your academic department to learn about any internship requirements. From there they can guide you to a list of approved intern sites or to the career services office.

I never relied only on my academic advisor to know if I was on track to graduate, you shouldn’t either. Take ownership. Get a degree audit every semester so that you don’t find out in the final hour that you can’t graduate on time.

If you can do an internship for credit then you might be able to pick up an extra class and complete 18 credit hours without taking an extra class. That is a good way to catch up on credits. If you are on a standard 120 degree credit program that means four semesters of at least five classes (15 credits per semester). In the event you took only four classes (12 credit hours) during one semester, you are already behind. If you need more than 120 credits or go to a tri-mester school, do your math.

Go to the Career Services Office

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Do you know where career services is on your campus? Depending on the size of your institution, there could be multiple career services offices seperated by college, or their could be one central college office. Figure out where you need to be.

Starting usually mid September through early November colleges across the country hold on-campus career and graduate school fairs. Attending an on-campus career fair literally brings hundreds of employers to your campus who are there for you. They are there looking for interns and future employees. Missing the career fair could mean missed opportunity.

You want to visit career services to 1) find out when the career fair is and 2) get help with your resume and cover letter. Career services can also usually assist you with interview tips and techniques or even doing a mock interview.

Career services advisors tend to have human resources and recruiter contacts with many companies, so use their connections to get the inside track on the best internships and future job opportunities.

Start Your Internship Search

In addition to finding out about academic credit and making plans to attend the career fair you should start your own internship search. Download my free internship manual toolkit to keep organized and understand the best way to do your internship search.

Finding an internship is training for finding a job. The better you become at this process now, the better you will be prepared to look for a job when the time comes.

Your internship search shoud be a combnitation of muliplte resources. Online search engines, company websites, internship programs, career services and networking. When the time comes, your job search will consist of many of these same methods. Here are 5 Ways to Find an Internship that work.

Proper planning will position you to find the best internship opportunities and fit them into your schedule. Over the course of your college education participating in different internships lets you explore other areas that are not withing your major, try different sized companies, enhance the skills you have learned in class, make connections, meet mentors and build your confidence.

So, let’s get it started. Find Internships.

End Your Summer Internship With a Bang

End Your Summer Internship With a Bang

Don’t just show up for the last day cake and cookies, end your summer internship with a bang. No matter if you are going out to join the working world, or back to school, ending your internship strongly can help you land more internships or a job when you graduate.

How does ending with a bang help you get a future job? Doing the few simple actions outlined below can show your manager that you know how to finish strong. Even if you started off shaky, finishing strong is a way to demonstrate professional maturity, gratitude for the internship and a desire to work for the company.

1. Secure Contact Information

Before your internship is over, start the process of transfering email addresses and phone numbers to your personal email account. You will likely lose access to your employer provided email a few days after your intenrship is over. If all of the contacts that you want are stuck in that email, you will have lost them. Make sure your personal email address is a simple one that allows people to easily identify you. You may need to get a reference or recommendation from one of them in the future.

2. Set up a LinkedIn Profile

Another way to keep in contact is through LinkedIn. If you don’t already have a LinkedIn profile, make one before your internship is over. Once you have your profile, start asking your colleagues if you can connect with them on Linkedin. For many profesionals, LinkedIn is the preferred method of staying connected. Many companies turn to LinkedIn to post internships, jobs and review resumes.

3. Update Your Resume and Portfolio

While the projects are still fresh in your mind, start updating your resume. When your internship is over, you can add more info to your resume. This is also your chance to make sure you secure any physical or electronic copies of projects that you worked on. Make sure that if there is any sensative information that you worked on that you receive the proper authorization. While you are updating your resume, update your LinkedIn profile to match. If you stay ready, you don’t have to get ready when opportunity arises.

4. Send Handwritten Thank-You Notes

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Buy a box of thank-you cards and write handwritten notes to your co-workers and supervisors. Sending an email, a tweet or text is not how you leave a lasting impression. Not likley that the other interns will make the same effort.Who doesn’t like getting handwritten notes?

5. Ask About Upcoming Opportunities

If you are graduating, let your manager know that you are interested in any full-time openings they have. They may not have any openings, but things change all the time. If your manager knows that you are interested in working for the company, when something comes up you may get the call. In the event you are returning to school, you can ask about continuning your internship through the fall, even remotely depending on the job.

Between ungrad and grad school I did eight internships. Each internship left me with a unique experience and perspective. Reflect on your internship not just in regards to the projects for your portfolio, but how you grew as a person. What did you learn about yourself? What did you learn about what you value in a future employer? Did you hate being in an office all day? The internship experience is a unique peak into life after college. Take advantage of the opportunity and learn from it.

 

National Intern Day

National Intern Day

Happy National Intern Day!

What is National Intern Day?

National Intern Day is the first celebration of its kind, a day designed to highlight the awesome things that interns like you do every day. “Internships are a critical step on the path to landing a job after graduation,” says Liz Wessel, the CEO and co-founder of WayUp. As a company that’s helped millions of people find internships, we’ve seen firsthand how impactful those experiences can be and we want to celebrate interns who are making a difference.

Spotlight Amazing Internship Opportunities

In addition to spotlighting amazing interns, National Intern Day also puts the focus on employers who are creating awesome internship opportunities and programs. So while you’re submitting a nomination for yourself, go ahead and submit one for your internship program manager and company too! This will help them get the recognition they deserve while also giving other interns the opportunity to discover great internship programs.

For complete details visit https://www.nationalinternday.com/.

If you are starting your fall internship search, check out the list of companies below that are among the best internship programs.

2017 Best Internship Programs via Wayup

Click here to see the complete list

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2017 Top Internship Programs

I Can’t Find a Qualified Intern

I Can’t Find a Qualified Intern

You’ve posted your add and now you are anxiously waiting for the resumes to roll in. Problem is, you can’t seem to find a qualifed intern. The resumes you have receieved don’t line up with the position description or, you aren’t getting any resumes at all.

What’s the deal? You are trying to give a young person an opportunity to learn your business and gain some real experience, but can’t seem to find the right person for the job.

Well, it is possible that you are the problem.

Often employers embark on the journey to find an intern without a firm understanding of what they really need in an intern, where to find internship candidates and what attracts good internship candidates. You might be guilty of one or all of these things. Take a step back and evaluate a few things about your internship opening and see how your program measures up in your quest to find a qualified intern.

Don’t be cheap, pay your interns

Nobody wants to work for free. Maybe 20 years ago unpaid internships were popular, but 20 years ago college didn’t cost on average almost $30,000 a year for an in-state public college. The average private school costs about $50,000 per year (source). With those types of bills looming and many college students needing to contribute heavily to pay for college, working for free just isn’t always feasible. If your internship doesn’t pay, you might miss out on quality candidates based on the fact that they can’t afford to work for you.

Unpaid programs can be biased towards those that can afford to work for free. Your talent and applicant pool will automatically decrease. If you want to compete for the best talent, then you need to find a way to pay your interns.

In addition to limiting your internship pool, unpaid internships are also potentially against the law. There are certain criteria you must meet as an employer in order to offer an unpaid internship.

You need an employee not an intern

Internships for undergraduate students that require two years of professional work experience are just insane and unfair. Internships are about gaining experience, about learning, about teaching. To want an intern with professional level credentials is just not reasonable, especially if you are not paying. Yes, you need your intern to have some skills and ability to contribute, but measure your needs and wants versus the reality of what an intern can bring.




If your internships is designed specficially for a recent graduate or graduate student, be specific with what you are looking for. Don’t be surprised, however, if candidates with stronger credentials are looking for some type of compensation.

Searching for Qualified Interns

Where you looking for interns? Have you posted to indeed.com and the other major job boards. That’s a good start, but when searching for interns go to where the interns are. There are websites and job boards for companies specifically looking for interns. Internship job boards like wayup.com, youtern.com and internships.com provide more exposure to your target audience. LinkedIn is also a no brianer which gives you the chance to review the background of your candidates. If you have your own website, make sure you post it there as well.

Social media sites including Instagram, SnapChat, Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook can’t be ignored when looking for college students. Go where your market is.

Locally, check with the colleges and universities in your own backyard. Start with career services offices and then go to the appropraite academic departments.

Lastly, partner with an organization that seeks out talent for you. If you have the budget to participate, internship programs like the T. Howard Foundation, Year Up, and other internship recruitement organizations can provide you with resumes of pre-screened qualified candidates to fill your openings.

Write the right description

Does your internship job descprition make you want to work there? If the opportunity you are offering doesn’t sound interesting to you, then it may not be appealing to anyone else either. Making copies and getting coffee is not the “real world” experience students are looking for. In addition to the qualifications for the role, your ad needs to communicate what the intern will learn, the benefits, responsibilities and skills they will gain.

Looking for the right fit, the right intern, starts with understanding your internship program. Here are 10 Steps to Launching a Successful Internship Program so that you can use to evaluate and understand your program and in turn, attract the right candidate.

Interns can be a wonderful addition to your team. Don’t give up the search, just make sure you are searching the right way.