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Maximize Opportunities for Human Interaction During the Job Search

Have you ever submitted a job application online and then never heard anything back from the company? The job search can be quite frustrating, so it’s important that you have a strategy in place! Instead of exclusively applying online, I recommend job seekers adopt a hybrid model. Once you submit an application via the website, make it a priority to follow up with the company at an on-campus event whenever possible.

Making a positive impression in-person could move your resume to the top of the stack, or lead to a referral when a position opens. Job candidates can go into much more detail regarding their experience during a face-to-face conversation as opposed to a one page resume that’s submitted online. Recruiters can also pick up on a candidate’s personality during an in-person interaction which can help them imagine how the individual would fit in with a particular role or team.

By attending the events listed below, you will be one step ahead of your competition and that much closer to securing a position!

  • Meet & Greets / Information Sessions:  Learn all about what the company does, discuss job opportunities and get your questions answered by company representatives.
  • Recruiter in Residence:  Meet engineers and HR reps in the ECS office to go over your resume and/or have your job search questions answered.
  • Workshops:  Some companies host workshops on career related topics (e.g. career fair prep) with a goal of building connections with students for future hiring.
  • Competitions:  Companies, such as Microsoft and Cardinal Health, hold events to provide an opportunity to interact with employees while working on a project with a team of fellow students.  Not only do you have a chance to win prizes, you may land an internship that’s up for grabs!
  • Career Fairs:  Career fairs are a great way to build your network of contacts. Identify your target companies, so you can make the most of your time at the event. The next engineering fair will be the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) Fair on February 4th, 2015. 

How can you make your networking events a success?
Research companies attending--not making an effort to learn about participating companies is a common mistake among students attending networking events.

     1.  Understand the qualifications desired by the company.

Read job postings, career pages, and research current employees on LinkedIn to learn more about desired skills and experience among top candidates.

     2.  Learn more about company culture, mission and values.

As you research the employer, pay attention to their website regarding their mission and core values. Recruiters are looking for candidates that can confidently explain how they are a fit.  

     3.  Be "in the know" about news and recent events.
Show you are interested in the company by reading up on the latest news which can be found on the company website or social media platforms such as LinkedIn and Twitter. 

Prepare a polished introduction.
Don’t show up at networking events without considering what you want other people to know about you! Remember the career fair “elevator pitch"? You should have this ready at all times. Be able to say something about yourself that relates to the particular company that would interest the representatives you meet.

Follow up in a timely matter.
It's your job to keep in touch with people you want to know. Do not assume you’ll hear back from anyone you meet, even if they tell you to expect a phone call. Ask recruiters for their contact information, so you can thank the individual for meeting with you and reiterate your interest in the company and/or open position.

As with anything in life, the more you put in, the more you will get out. So remember to devote significant time and effort to your (in-person and online) job search! 

"Use each interaction to be the best, most powerful version of yourself."
-Marianne Williamson

About the author

Kaitlin Schafer

Kaitlin Schafer is a Career Counselor at Engineering Career Services.