Hannah Stewart Purdue University Student and Peer Counselor
Industrial Roundtable is coming soon to Purdue starting with seminars on September 15th, the Job Fair on the 16th and 17th, and ending with interviews September 18th through the 20th. This is a huge opportunity for students and employers come to campus looking to connect highly qualified students with internships, co-ops, and jobs. Industrial Roundtable is not just for graduating seniors; anyone can participate and benefit from the events held. And for those of us who aren’t engineers, I would recommend going anyway as sometimes there is an overlap, most companies have positions besides engineers. Every company needs HR, accounting, or management positions. It’s also a fabulous way to network. So, maybe they aren’t looking for your position now, but if you network, they could contact you when a position opens.
However, this isn’t your high school job fair, this is the real deal. As such, there is definitely some major prepping to do.
- Do your homework. Yes, these companies are coming to us. But these are major companies, some don’t even need to go looking for people, people flock to them. It’s a little bit of a treat and a huge compliment that they are coming to Purdue University. So return the favor. Look them up! See what they are doing, what their motto is, what breaking discoveries or products they have come out with, are they particularly proud of something, etc. Make sure you go into the Industrial Roundtable knowing the company and their representatives. Someone who is excited about what the company is doing will stand out over someone just looking for a job. The Industrial Roundtable website has a list of all the employers coming.
- Prep your résumé. Recruiters are not your best friends or family so they don’t know you that well. And they will be conversing with hundreds of other students, sometimes all within the same day. Now is the time to stand out and make a statement. Our campus has the Center for Career Opportunities (CCO), housed with trained employees, who are more than happy to help you with your résumé in order to stand out from the crowd. They can also help you with two other often forgotten aspects: a cover letter, and a follow up letter. It’s up to your discretion if you would need a cover letter, but you should always do a follow-up letter.
- Have letters of recommendation prepared because some employers will want them on the spot. Contact old employers, advisors, professors, anyone who can speak highly of you. The more professional the contact, the more it stands out. And double-check that they will write a good letter about you!
- Prepare your two minute speech. You have two minutes or less to make a lasting impression of yourself. And you need to sell yourself. Now is not the time to be humble, if you got it, own it and flaunt it. Make sure to check both the CCO website and the Industrial Roundtable website as often times, they list tips on whichquestionsyoushould beprepared to answer.
- Dress to impress. This is the real deal and its business professional. Be prepared for suits and blazers. If at possible, don’t take your back pack as it can ruin the look and can make an awkward two-minute speech. Recruiters are looking for professionals, so make it easy to see you as one. Many employers won’t even consider someone who can’t look the part. Also, a good outfit is just one more way to stand out.
- Make a schedule. Industrial Roundtable tends to have loads of recruiters, representing tons of companies, and typically a pretty sizeable amount of the student population will also attend. It would be impossible to meet with every company and don’t forget you also have classes that you may not be able to/should not skip. So make a list of top ten companies that your experience and background will most likely align with. Be sure to not pick all huge companies or all really popular ones as these will be the busiest and you may only get to two. Be prepared to stand in lines as well.
The biggest thing you should take away from this is that you need to prep and get ready. This is a tremendous opportunity that you don’t want to miss. Even if you don’t feel like you would get a position, go anyways! Practice your communication skills, networking, and preparing your résumé. Just make sure you get ready for it because the companies will be ready for you.
Come back next week, same time, same website for more tips on how to prepare for Industrial Roundtable!
If you have any tips you would like to share please comment below.