Career advising liaison Leanne Ralstin said when it comes to job hunting, having a good professional network can make a world of difference.
“Networking is everything,” Ralstin said. “If you use active networking when job searching, you have a much greater chance of getting a job versus simply applying,” Ralstin said.
University of Idaho students will have the opportunity to do just that at the spring Career Fair, held 2-6 p.m. Wednesday in the International Ballroom of the Bruce Pitman Center.
Over 105 employers and grad schools will be at the event. The event provides an opportunity for students to see what companies they may want to apply to work for, whether as a summer job, internship or job after graduation, Ralstin said. She said women should wear a knee-length skirt with hosiery or dress slacks, and men should wear a button-up shirt and suit if they have one.
John Mangiantini, assistant director for internships and employee relations, said professional attire is important for making strong first impressions.
“Employers want to be able to envision what you”ll look like when you”re working in their office,” Mangiantini said. “A suit is a good investment for the future.”
Marketing and Communications Specialist Mark Pfeifer said students should consider visiting the university”s Pinterest page prior to the event.
“We have an entire board that shows the differences between business casual, business professional, and what occasions call for which attire,” Pfeifer said.
Pfeifer said students should attend the fairs even if they aren”t actively looking for jobs or internships.
“It makes all the difference,” Pfeifer said. “Sometimes just realizing what industries are out there and asking how your major might connect to certain majors, it could be a great enlightening experience.”
He said getting practice with face-to-face interaction will help students gain confidence with each fair they attend, and that can be a game-changer.
Ralstin said it is a good idea for students to look at the list of employers coming, including their short description and what jobs they are hiring for, and to make a list of which ones they want to visit.
Mangiantini and Ralstin also suggested bringing several copies of resumes to the fair.
“Put a blanket resume together for the fair, but if there”s a company that you”re hungry to work for, tailor a resume to that employer and the jobs that they are posting,” Mangiantini said.
He says relevant work experience should be first on your resume. Then, list any other work experience. He says it”s important to list the qualifications they are asking for, especially if they list certain GPAs or various certifications.
Ralstin said students should also come prepared with their elevator speech, including major, goals and hopes for the future.
“(Employers) do remember who comes through and shows interest in them, and the ones that stood out,” Ralstin said.
She recommends bringing a pad of paper and pen to take notes about employers of interest or to record conversations. She suggested using this information to send a thank you note after the fair to the companies students may hope to eventually apply for.
She suggests that nervous students speak to potential employers who may be lower on their interest list first, and work their way to number one, so that the they can gain experience and shake nervousness as they go through the fair.
Mangiantini said any student who doesn”t come to the fair is blowing a huge opportunity.
“No other time in your career will employers come to you, to seek you out,” he said. “The rest of your career you”re going to be chasing them.”
He said everyone coming will be there to hire Vandals, and nationwide statistics shows chances of landing a job after graduation double if you”ve had an internship, so students should be on the lookout for those.
“Most of them want to start building a relationship with you now, so that you”re thinking about them when it comes time for your turn,” Mangiantini said. “That”s why freshmen and sophomores especially should come.”