Staff Editorial: Career fair preparations not to be overlooked

The 35th Annual NSBE/SHPE Career Fair is just over a week away, and we want to encourage everyone to take advantage of this opportunity to make connections with companies from all over the country. If you haven’t already started preparing, it’s not too late.

Possibly the most important part of preparing for the fair is registering online. In previous years, students could—although they were never encouraged to—register for the fair when they walked into the facility. This year, however, the hosts of the fair have set a much stricter policy, requiring students to register online. Those who attempt to walk in without having previously registered will be turned away at the door so make sure you visit http://careerfair.rpi.edu/index.php/area/student_signup/ to sign up.

Once you’ve done that, you’ll want to have a quality resume to give to the various recruiters at the fair. If you need any help at all with creating one or if you just want someone to critique your work, stop by the Center for Career and Professional Development. They’ll look over your resume, give you suggestions, and offer you additional advice to help you impress businesses at the Career Fair, including help with your elevator pitch and a list of the “do’s and don’t’s” of the fair.

The CCPD also runs several events throughout the weeks leading up to the fair. The “Interview-A-Palooza,” for example, will be held tonight at 5 pm in DCC 308, during which Sophomore Career Experience sponsors will work with students to improve their interview skills. For more information about their events, visit their website at http://rpi.edu/dept/cdc/.

After talking with staff from the CCPD, you should then make sure you have appropriate apparel for the Career Fair. This may mean shelling out a decent amount of money for a suit/dress and all relevant accessories. On the day of the fair, you’ll want to make sure you’re properly groomed—get a haircut, make sure you’ve shaved, or what have you.

When you finally walk into the fair, make sure to have physical and digital copies of your resume in hand to give to any business you may be interested in. Also, make sure you’re confident while talking to businesses representatives. Research companies you’re interested in so you can intelligently answer questions and appear prepared.

While it may seem like the Career Fair is only meant for older students, we encourage freshmen to go. Even if you don’t expect to get an internship, a co-op, or a job, simply getting the exposure and getting used to the professional atmosphere of the fair.

Regardless of your year, if you hope to get a job when you leave RPI, attend the Career Fair if you can. Who knows? Maybe you’ll manage to make the connections you’ll need to get the career you want in the future, or snag an internship straight out of freshman year!

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