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The Do’s and Don’ts of Speed Dating (and Career Fairs)

career fairWe’ve all been there. It seems like all of your friends are happy with their amazing jobs and you’re at home, still in your pajamas, watching soaps and eating Ben and Jerry’s out of the carton. Having a job sounds great, but it’s the process of finding a company that you are compatible with that is tough. Putting yourself “out there” and facing possible rejection is scary and makes those daytime Family Feud marathons look only that much more appealing; Steve Harvey would never tell you that you have a weak resume! But at the same time, you find yourself daydreaming about nine to five workdays and the glory of filling out a W-2. It’s decided. You want a job. But where do you start? Enter, the career fair: speed dating for the business world.

Career fairs are a great opportunity – rarely do you get the chance to be in a room filled with eligible employers vying for your attention. Making a good impression is key, but if you do the right stuff, you’ll have companies begging to work with you.

career fair 2Do: Dress to impress. Companies hire employees who are a good representation of themselves. A professional company hires professional people. Although career fairs may seem less formal than the traditional one-on-one interview, do not dress as such. Guys, a professional suit and a nice tie will give the right impression, and clean-shaven face will bode well with other professionals. Girls, whether you go with a pantsuit or skirt-and-blouse combo, keep it classy – nothing too revealing. Also consider pulling your hair back; you’ll appear more confident and employers will be able to better see your smiling face.

Don’t: Be shy. With only a few minutes with each company representative, good conversation is the key to a lasting impression. Plan out a 30-second introductory pitch explaining who you are, what you have to offer, and what your career visions are. This allows you to share a lot of information quickly as well as providing a jumping off point for conversation so you won’t be searching for the right thing to say.

Do: Come prepared. If you have sparked a potential employer’s interest, they will more than likely ask to see a resume; it’s best to bring a few with you to give out. Also, don’t forget to spruce up your social media accounts and provide those on your resume as well (especially your LinkedIn).

Don’t: Fade into the crowd. With hundreds of students filing through the same set of businesses, it can be easy to get photo 1forgotten. Stand out by bringing back the dying art form of a good old-fashioned business card. Companies love them because they show that you are prepared, ready to connect, and professional. Not only that, but business cards don’t have a rigid format like resumes, so they can be a good opportunity to show a bit of your personality.

Do: Follow up. Just like a traditional interview, it is good practice to follow up with any companies that really caught your eye with a professional email. It shows the company how interested you really are in them.

Want to test out your skills? Come to the School of Public Health Career Fair on Wednesday, October 23rd from 10:30am-1pm in PH163. Businesses from all areas of the public health field will be there. Check out the current list of employers here: http://www.publichealth.indiana.edu/careers/jobfair.shtml  If you are still a little nervous, make sure to attend the Career Fair Scrimmage on October 16th where SPH career services staff will be available to answer questions and help develop a killer introductory pitch.

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Career fairs can be intimidating, but follow these tips and you might find yourself in a long lasting relationship with the company of your dreams!

Sean MacLennan is a junior in the fitness specialist degree program with a minor in nutrition. She is the event and social media correspondent for IU Kinesiology Club, a UTA for the P215 physiology labs, and a monitor at the Briscoe Fitness and Wellness Center. She hopes to one day own her own wellness center to help people live full, happy, and healthy lives.

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IUSPH Career Services

Job opportunities for Indiana University School of Public Health-Bloomington majors are diverse and expanding as the emphasis on living a healthy lifestyle grows around the world. Career Services experts in each of our academic departments will provide one-on-one counseling and career building opportunities throughout your academic career, from choosing the right major to developing a strategy to find a job. They can assist you with:

•career counseling
•internships
•job placement
•volunteer opportunities
•resume and cover letter preparation
•interview skills
•networking
•graduate school preparation

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