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Entry by Nicole Goble, Director of Recruiting and Development in the financial services industry in Zionsville, IN

It is that time of year again; spring, campus career fairs are right around the corner.  If you are still in the hunt for a summer internship, making the best of your time at each one is highly important.  I have drilled down on research, research, research so it won’t be mentioned (but please do research 🙂 ).  Here are a few things to separate you from the sea of students in line at company booths:

1. Go Alone.
It is ok to say hello and shake hands as you meet fellow classmates; however, steer away from going with a friend.  This time is about talking with employers and company’s about what interests you.

2. Dress to Impress.
This is easier said than done from my experience.  For men, be sure your shoes are shined, shirt is pressed, tie knot is not to skinny but not too big and put on with your best (ideally dark) suit.  A matching handkerchief in the front, jacket pocket and a shiny pair of cuff links will add a touch to your suit making you stand out beyond the crowd.

For females, the best option is to go with a pant suit and short heels with a pressed collar shirt.   Dress code is tough for women as we have many more options and what is acceptable and what is not acceptable differs between companies so just remember, if you are standing in the mirror questioning if it is appropriate, it is probably not.  Utilizing a scarf that matches your button up and wearing a nice belt and watch can add to your suit to help you stand out (keep jewelry small and minimal). 

3. Know your elevator speech.
In general, you only have a minute or two with each recruiter.  They are going to spend all day telling their “elevator speech” (45 second blurb on their company and career).  If you can break the monotony by knowing the company and instead giving them your 45 second elevator speech on why they should interview you for the position, your resume will instantly move to the top of the stack.

4. The Resume.
Your resume should be left with the recruiter at the end of your discussion.  Many hand it out first thing and get put in the position of an onsite resume critique rather than focusing on the job offered.  As a student, your resume should never be more than 1 page.  It is true that thicker paper and beige colored paper helps the resume to stand out when back at the office reviewing them.

5. Thank you cards.
A hand written thank you card can go a very long way to a recruiter.  First of all, it is rare, very rare, for anyone to handwrite anything with computers and email.  Second, they will pull your resume out of the pile and put the two together, bringing you to the top. 

6. Properly follow up.
Ask them at the end of your discussion at the fair, how you can follow up with them on obtaining an interview for this position.  Then, do exactly what they say.  If they say they will call you, let them call you.  Not following direction and contacting a recruiter/company multiple times can lower your chances rather than strengthening them.  

Hopefully, I will see some of you at the upcoming Krannert and CSR Career Fairs at Purdue University and the Cardinal Career Fair at Ball State University.  Happy Hunting! 

A current list of Indiana career/internship fairs can be found here.

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