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Tips for success at the career fair

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Representatives from companies such as ALDI, Progressive, Verizon, PNC, Trib Total Media and Hershey will be at Pitt’s three-day Virtual Career + Internship Fair, which begins Thursday, Sept. 23.

Check out these tips for success from Jon Frye, marketing and communications coordinator at the Career Center, and Alyson Kavalukas, internship coordinator, to help you make a good impression.

Spruce up your resume: Put your best foot forward with an impressive and error-free resume. Make an appointment with the Career Center for a resume review or stop by the center’s drop in hours daily from 11-3 p.m. in Room 200 of the William Pitt Union.

Create a Handshake profile: Handshake is a digital platform that connects potential employers and students — and it’s where the fair is hosted this year. Use the app to sign up for one-on-one and group sessions with employers.

If you’ve used the platform before, Frye recommends making sure your profile is up to date with correct information.

To best use the app, students should follow employers they’re interested in to receive updates. Be sure, too, to also upload the accurate and reviewed PDF of your resume so employers can easily view it.

Do your research: If you’re interested in a particular company or organization, look up information such as their headquarters, size and mission statement so you can demonstrate you’ve done your homework and impress your potential employer.

Check your tech and space: Frye advises that students log in to the fair from an area with a strong Wi-Fi connection, flattering lighting and minimal background noise. You should also silence your cell phone and minimize other distractions. If you can, sign on in a private room so you don’t need to wear a mask, which could make it difficult to understand you during conversations.

Frye also says that virtual backgrounds should only be used in public spaces or if you need to conceal what’s behind you.

Dress the part: “Being virtual isn’t an invitation for being casual,” Kavalukas says, recommending that students wear business professional attire such as a suit, tie or a blouse to the meetings.

Introduce yourself: Once you log in to the fair, be prepared with information such as your name, year, major, minor and what types of positions you are seeking. It’s a good idea to rehearse your introduction ahead of time so you speak clearly and confidently.

Be curious: Ask potential employers and be prepared to discuss why you are interested in a given organization or company.

 “A good rule of thumb is to prepare a question about the company, a question about the position and a question about the recruiter,” Kavalukas says.

Follow up: If your conversation goes well and the employer encourages you to apply to a position, follow their specific instructions about how to do so and respond quickly. Also make sure you have actually completed the application process — some require additional documents or references.

Lastly: “Keep in mind that recruiters are scheduled to go to fairs at several schools and often don’t begin scheduling interviews until several weeks afterwards. So, some patience is required,” Kavalukas says.


— Justin P. Jones