Student Organizations Present Virtual Career Fair Prep

College of Technology (CoT) student organizations are helping their fellow students find success in landing internships and jobs after hosting a Virtual Career Fair Prep information session. The college’s Career Services department, alumni, and recruiters were invited to give guidance for preparing for the upcoming Virtual Career Fair, tips for job interviews, and advice on how to stand out to employers. With the fall 2021 Virtual Career Fair fast approaching, there is no better time to make those final adjustments to students’ interview game plans. The Handshake platform is the gateway to the whole CoT Career Fair process.

The Career Fair Prep session showcased the importance of online etiquette and the impact of virtual impressions. With the rise of online meetings, there is a set of conventional rules that should be followed in regards to respecting the time of others, being mindful of social media posts and communicating effectively. Amar Harris, SAP Consultant from Capgemini, stressed the need to be familiar with online tools such as Zoom, Skype, MS Teams; how to use proper grammar in emails; and know your audience.

CoT alumnus Fernando Prado, Customer Engineer from Microsoft, gave advice on key points when delivering the elevator pitch. This 30-second pitch tells an employer who the applicant is, what they can offer, why the applicant is interested in the company, and what the applicant wants for the future. He also mentioned the necessity to rehearse the elevator pitch for authenticity. “Practice talking to yourself in the mirror, practice your elevator pitch with your friends as much as you can,” Prado said. “It is those first 30-seconds that you have the recruiter’s full attention, so make it count.” Prado added that employers can spot the difference from a robotic memorized speech and a genuine pitch. “It is understandable to make mistakes, but make sure to get the key points across during the pitch delivery,” Prado said.

Additionally, the information session spotlighted the significance of building a personal and professional brand. According to Pranav Chopra, Technical Sourcer, Google, students should first do an authentic self-analysis to determine their passions, motivations, core values, strength and weaknesses, and the areas for growth. This self-examination can be used to build a student’s brand and incorporate it into their social media such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Handshake. Chopra also mentioned to stay consistent in updating resumes; continuing to network with other students, professors, and alumni; and ask for feedback.

The Career Services office recommend students to activate their accounts and to complete their profiles to at least 80% as this creates a higher employer noticeability. Students are also advised to properly format and upload resumes to their accounts for employer review. Kirk Petrash, Career Counselor for CoT, stated resumes should not distract with columns, color, icons, or pictures. Instead, students should use keywords that focus on attractive skills that employers are looking for.

The 2-day fall 2021 Virtual Career Fair will take place September 14 and September 21 and students can sign up through their Handshake account for a one-on-one 10-minute interview slot with a recruiter. Students also have the option to sign up for 30-minute information sessions with recruiters to learn more about their respective company.

Students are encouraged to utilize all resources available to help with Career Fair preparation. As in previous semesters, student organizations, career services, and alumni are joining forces to help set the next round of students up for career success.