For anyone who is looking to get a job in the US, the BUSINESS CAREER FAIR (yes, the caps are intentional!), is the time you have to have your game face on. The whole training process for this fair starts right from day one of the program and my advice…attend every single session the department offers. We’ve been told repeatedly to have our 30 second elevator pitch ready and that’s when you realize how hard it really is to stand in front of a person and talk about yourself, even for the shortest duration of time. Some of us who attended other career fairs earlier had a fair idea of what to expect.
From the beginning of the MSTM Program, we were well aware that job search starts immediately and preparation for that search took us through countless pages on company websites, helping us understand the various departments and offerings they have for our skillsets. This in fact is the most crucial preparation for the career fair. It helps to know your target companies well in advance and have jargons at your fingertips. A quick last minute research on the ipad worked wonders when we were standing in line waiting our turn. That apart, we’ve had plenty of information sessions with different companies to get us familiar with the industry practices and this was very insightful. There’s plenty of networking opportunities and many of us had the chance to get in touch with various recruiters from different companies.
The business career fair was a three day event with over 200 companies! The fair lasts for about 5 hours, and with proper research and the right questions we met about 5 to 6 companies each day to find out just where we fit. Some companies will just take your resume while others will spend time talking to you. I, for one, was lucky to spend over 20 minutes with a few companies. Again, having questions straight helps. This is also one of those places where eavesdropping isn’t really such a bad thing! I spent half my time trying to focus on what other people were trying to say just to know what I can say better. Most companies will write stuff on your resume and you know you’re headed in the right direction when you leave the counter with many scribbles on yours.
Another helpful piece of advice the MSTM Program Director, Jeff Kurtz, gave us was to talk to any and every company we’re interested in irrespective of whether they were sponsoring visas for international students or not. We have a 29 month OPT and can count on talent/luck to convert that to a full-time position. In fact, Jeff gave us his version of the 30 minute elevator pitch to such companies and it was perfect. Talk to Jeff! Fran helped many of us have our perfect resume and cover letter and thanks to the concerted efforts of the department and the BCS team, many of us have interview calls already.
Overall, the career fair is one of the most important events this course has to offer and approaching it in the right way can help most of us secure our jobs as early as October. Our department is highly approachable for any help in job search and staying connected to everyone definitely helps!