New additions to career fairs

Korrie Bysted

Iowa State organizes career fairs every semester for students to find networking, job and internship opportunities. This year is no different.

This year, the Engineering Career Fair will be from noon to 6 p.m. this Tuesday at Hilton Coliseum and Scheman Building.

The Business, Industry and Technology Career Fair will be from noon to 6 p.m. the following day, Wednesday, at Hilton Coliseum

There are a lot of new things at both career fairs this year. Specifically at the Engineering Career Fair, there are new events, redesigned nametags, an added student lounge and companies new to the career fairs.

With the several new events organized in conjunction with the career fairs, are:

Employer Panel — noon to 3:40 p.m. Monday in 2055 Hoover Hall.

Mock Interviewing — 7 to 8 p.m. Thursday, in 2004 Black Engineering Building. 

 After the Interview — 7 to 8 p.m. Oct. 9 in 2004 Black Engineering Building.

The redesigned nametags will have clip-on holders that make them more professional and will help students stand out.

Completely new this year is a student lounge, which will have computers and comfortable chairs to create a relaxing environment for students in between their “meet and greets” with employers. Additionally, student leaders will be present in the lounge for any assistance needed.

As if these additions aren’t enough, more than one-third of the companies that will be present at this year’s career fairs are new this year. At the Business, Industry and Technology Career Fair, 20 companies will never have been in attendance before — or at least haven’t been in attendance for a very long time.

Another addition students can see at the Business, Industry and Technology Career Fair this year will be a photo booth. 

This photo booth will be available to students who wish to take a professional photo for their profile page on LinkedIn, a business-professional social networking site.

Tammy Stegman, program coordinator for the Business Career Services, said she advises students to come early because there are prizes for people who show up between noon and 1 p.m.

Besides all the fun prizes, students will be able to see many benefits from attending the Career Fairs, both long term and short term.

The most important benefit is attending the fair gives students the opportunity to network. We have all heard that sometimes, when it comes to securing a job or internship, it’s who a person knows, not what that person knows.

Another benefit is that talking to employers can give students an idea of what that industry is like and what part of that industry really interests them.

It also helps them fully understand their major and what the benefits and skills are expected from that specific major.

Of course, there is also the added benefit of getting an interview with an employer with which a student had stopped to talk to. This could then lead to a job or internship which can then give relevant work experience, which will come in handy after graduation when trying to secure a full-time career. Out of the hundreds of students who attend the Business, Industry and Technology Career Fair, more than 650 of those students are expected to walk away with an interview.

One of the biggest and most important opportunities  the career fair provides is the chance to get an interview and then an internship. Internships are important because they provide relevant work experience that will help all students later on in life.

“The No. 1 thing employers are looking for when they interview for [a] full-time [position] is experience,” said Loni Pringnitz, program coordinator in the College of Human Sciences student services. “In order to be marketable and competitive, [students] need to have relevant work experience.” 

Internships also point your education in

the right direction and make classes in the future easier, said  Erika Vaassen and Trent Moeller, student executives for the Engineering Career Fair.

A few more things students should know about the career fairs:

Come prepared

  • Know your own 30-second sales pitch
  • Bring a resume that you have had some one else edit
  • Research different companies prior 
  • to attending
  • Set up meetings with career services beforehand

Take advantage early on

This means you, underclassmen. It’s never too early to begin networking.

Pringnitz said she advises students to think to themselves: “At some point you have to find a job — so what are you doing from day one through graduation to make that happen?”

Know the value of your major and be able to articulate that to employers.

Be able to tell a potential employer four to five reasons why you and your major are a good fit for them, said Taren Crow, program coordinator for the Liberal Arts and Sciences career services.

Vaassen and Moeller advise students to attend the fair in Scheman Building as well as at Hilton. There are a lot more companies in attendance this year — in fact, there were so many some employers were turned down.

It’s common knowledge Hilton will be full of employers, but students shouldn’t forget about the other employers housed in Scheman. Skipping out on visiting those employers in Scheman can result in missing some amazing opportunities.

If you plan on heading to a career fair, be sure to go prepared.

This means do your research ahead of time, print of your resume — that you had edited by your career services office — and bring it with you.

Always remember that if one conversation doesn’t go very well, just shake it off, take a minute to regroup and go find some one else to talk to.

Don’t let one bad experience scare you off because that next conversation could lead to your dream job.

Lastly, don’t forget first impressions are everything, so dress the part.

As Stegman said: “You want them to remember you for how professional you were. Not because of your pajama pants.”

Utilize the resources available to you as a student

  • ISU Career Management Services
  • Career services offices
  • Career fair workshops
  • Adviser appointments