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Make the most of this week’s Fall Career Fair

October 3, 2013 - Housing more than 200 prospective employers, the annual Fall Career Fair gets underway inside Cabot Cage on Thursday, October 3, 2013.

On Thursday, Northeastern is hosting its annual Fall Career Fair from noon to 4 p.m. at Cabot Center, where students can meet face-to-face with representatives from more than 260 companies, build their professional networks, and learn about job opportunities, career paths, and skills that increase employment potential.

Students are reminded to wear professional clothes and bring their NU IDs, as well as copies of their resumés. All bags will be subject to search, so Career Development suggests not bringing bags to the event, if possible.

We asked Diane Ciarletta, director of career development, to share some tips for students on what to do before, during, and after the career fair to maximize their success at the event.

Do your homework

First and foremost, come prepared. Visit NUCareers for a list of the employers participating (once you log in, click the blue button “Search Who’s Coming”). You will also find what positions each company is hiring for right now—full-time jobs, co-ops, and internships.

Then do research on the companies you want to meet with, and prepare questions that will show you’ve done your homework. Companies will be impressed, and more likely to remember you, if you are informed about what jobs are currently available, the company’s mission and business goals, what markets they’re in, and any recent news about the company.

Have a game plan

Know ahead of time which companies you want to meet with. Make a list. And then, be strategic about how you visit these companies. Order your list with the companies you’re most interested in at the top. Then, visit the companies at the bottom of your list first and work your way up. That way, you’ll have practiced your pitch and your questions by the time you visit the companies you most want to meet with—so you’ll have worked out any kinks by then.

Also, many current co-op students and alumni will be among the employer representatives on hand, so take the opportunity to speak with them and learn more about their experiences.

Prepare your pitch

Speaking of your pitch: This year, for the first time, Career Development will be staffing a “Practice Your Pitch Table,” located near Solomon Court by the back entrance. You can meet there with career coaches to practice your 60-second pitch and inquire about what questions to ask employers.

Follow up

Ask employer representatives for their business cards, and if you’re interested, follow up a week or two later by mentioning your conversation at the career fair and asking to arrange an informational interview. You can also ask the employer representatives the best way to follow up with them, and when to do so. Another good question to ask is whether the company will be on campus again in the near future.

Take advantage of Career Development resources

Career Development recommends that you have your resumé reviewed prior to attending the career fair, and offers walk-in hours Monday through Friday from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m., in 103 Stearns Center.

Ahead of the Fall Career Fair, Career Development is hosting a workshop on Wednesday at noon for international students to maximize their success at the career fair. The workshop will offer an informal setting for students to practice their pitches and get feedback on how to refine their career fair introductions.

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