We have reached the final preparation stage for iCareer Day on Monday. At this point, you’ve already done your research and made sure your resume is ready to go. Now it’s time to focus on the event itself and how you will use it to start building your professional network.
Dress for the Job You Want
Make sure to try on the outfit you plan on wearing to the event ahead of time. There is nothing worse than realizing the day-of the event that your outfit has a stain on it or doesn’t fit like you expected. Also, remember that the dry cleaners or an iron can be your best friend.
The trick to selecting the right outfit is to choose one that is professional, makes you feel good, and doesn’t detract from the message you are trying to get across. Therefore, now is not the time for ties with crazy prints on them or the bright yellow blazer you bought. You want to be remembered for what you said, not for what you wore.
My general rule of thumb, particularly for undergrads, is that if you would wear any part of your outfit out on Marshall St. then don’t wear it at the career fair. For both men and women, if you’re debating if an outfit choice is crossing the line into being too casual, your best bet is always to go with something else.
If you look in your closet and realize you don’t have enough professional clothing then that is something to consider asking for as a gift or saving your own money to purchase. A great fitting suit is something that might help you land your dream job and is an investment worth making. Even if you plan to work for a start-up with a more relaxed dress code, you will likely need some business formal clothing for presentations or client meetings. Or maybe you’ll be like Barney from “How I Met Your Mother” and suit up for just about every occasion.
Final Preparations and Reminders
Rehearse your career fair pitch in front of a mirror and then with a friend. This includes giving a confident hand-shake.
Have the following things packed and ready to go: SU ID, mints (not gum!), tissues, a folder or padfolio with paper, pens, and copies of your resume.
Arrive early if your class schedule allows. iCareer Day is open only to undergraduates from 11:00am-1:00pm and then for graduate students from 1:00-4:00pm (undergraduates are still welcome at that point).
At the fair, make sure to stand-up straight, smile, and make eye contact. It should be clear that you want to be there!
Always ask for a business card at the end of the conversation with an employer and say that you look forward to keeping in touch. Then do just that!
Not sure what you would say in a follow-up? After you have talked with an employer, find a spot where you can quickly jot down some notes from that conversation. When it is time to write thank you e-mails you will then be able to reference specific aspects of your conversation which will help the employer remember who you are. This prevents you from confusing one conversation with another when you finally sit down to write e-mails. You can also connect with them on LinkedIn as well which helps them put a face to your name.
At this point, you are ready to rock iCareer Day and iSchool Career Center staff will be there to answer questions. Monday is also going to mark the return of @iCareersSU, so follow us on Twitter for last-minute tips and for career advice, job leads, and industry news from now on.