The Daily Gamecock

Job fairs bring more than 150 employers today

Career Center offers tips for success


Students should come with resumes in hand and knowledge in mind to today’s Career Fest and Science, Engineering and Technology fairs, ready to make a professional impression on the more than 150 employers who will be there, according to Career Center representative Erica Lake.
Potential employers will expect students to already have knowledge of their companies and of their position offerings, so students should do some research of their own prior to meeting with recruiters at the fair, said Lake, the Career Center’s assistant director for employer relations.
Upon arriving at the fairs, students will find informational handshake and personal introduction stations, where they will be briefly versed on how to make a good first impression on recruiters. First impressions, Lake said, are very important.
Lake offered other tips for students attending the event:
— Dress professionally. For women, this means wearing a dress or dress pants with a collared shirt and close-toed shoes. For men, a suit is preferred, otherwise a button-down shirt with slacks and a tie. Students should not wear jeans, shorts, hats or other casual attire.
“Dressing professionally is very important because people typically will make a judgment call within the first minute of knowing someone,” Lake said. “They want to know whether you will be able to represent their company in a professional manner, and that comes across in how you dress, how you speak and how you carry yourself.”
— Bring resume copies. Include past internships, leadership positions and volunteer experiences. Other points employers will look for on resumes include examples of initiative, effective communication skills and project management.
“Identify in your resume the ways that you have made an impact. If you have improved in operation, that is impressive,” Lake said.
— Ask questions, and take notes. Lake suggests making notes on the back of a company’s business card while speaking with recruiters.
— Follow up. Most of the employers represented at the fair will be on campus as soon as the following day or within the next few months to conduct interviews with students, Lake said. She suggests sending a follow-up email to the company soon after talking with recruiters at the fair.
“That personal interaction that they’ve had face to face is very important, and the follow-up is important. It shows the candidate is really interested in the position and takes the initiative to follow up,” Lake said.
— Don’t stock up on freebies.
“Be aware of perception,” Lake said. “Be more focused on the employment opportunities than the free stuff.”
The S.E.T. and Career Fest fairs will be held concurrently at the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center from noon to 4 p.m. today. Shuttles will run to and from the event between 11:30 a.m. and 5 p.m., picking up at Russell House, Capstone House and Swearingen Engineering Center.