The best advice often comes from the ones who have been in your shoes before. That’s why we asked recent Marketing alumni about their experiences with career fairs, job searching, and responding to difficult interview questions. They shared their best advice for current students on conquering career fairs and the job search process!
What tips/tricks would you give students about making Career Fairs a more valuable experience?
- “I would recommend having a plan in terms of which companies you want to speak to ahead of time. Also – try to make a personal connection with the recruiter outside of talking about job descriptions and your experience. It will help them remember you.” – John Staak, Customer Data Analyst, Casey’s General Store
- “It’s important to spend some time before to really think about why you’re interested in certain companies and/or positions. Try to come up with 5 that you can articulate why you want to work for that place specifically. Then write down any and all questions you may have. The more curious you are in them the more they will be in you.” – Evan Hopper, Business Intelligence Consultant, RSM
- Obviously do your research and prepare ahead of time. Have a set list of companies in mind that you want to talk to, but make sure to network with everyone. Limiting yourself to only a few options isn’t the best of advice. It is still okay to go talk to companies even if you haven’t done any prior research. – Micheal Hoffman, Project Manager, ProCircular, Inc.
- “Don’t get hung up on the potential awkwardness of talking to strangers at the fair. These recruiters are in a very similar boat as you and I bet some of them might even be dreading the fair, just like you. Talk to them like you would anyone else and if you run out of things to say, ask questions.” – Grant Kamperschroer, Content Marketing Specialist, Straight North
What is the best piece of advice you received during your own job search and what additional words of wisdom do you have for current students?
- “Figure out WHERE you want to live before starting the job search.” – Michael Hoffman
- “Start applying early. Sometimes internships are great ways to land full time positions. It is okay to be an intern out of college. Find your passion.” – Evan Schmidt, Sales Coordinator, Hyatt Place
- “The best way to feel out options is to pick up the phone and reach out to people who are doing work that interests you. Make connections selflessly and with a genuine intent to learn.” – John Staak
- “Be yourself, be authentic, and let your personality show while remaining professional.” – Evan Hopper
- “Don’t rush into anything. If something doesn’t feel quite right, that’s okay. That job might not be for you.” – Grant Kamperschroer
What is the hardest or strangest question you have been asked during an interview?
- Tell me about a bad manager you have had.
- I’ve been asked a few riddles to test how I think and apply logic. It’s easy to panic when you get one of those. I recommend asking clarifying questions to buy yourself time and clear your head
- “Tell me about 3 people that you believe you have influenced for the better in your life so far.” This one was a bit difficult for me and I stuck mostly to friendships since at this point, I had not had professional opportunities to do so. For me, this question was a wake up call since it was difficult for me to answer.
- “What do you do on Sunday mornings?” The interviewer was vying to inquire about my religious background. These types of questions are shady and borderline illegal – Know your rights and what interviewers can/cannot ask you.
- Tell me about a book you’ve read recently. That one caught me off guard. Luckily, I was taking a class that had us reading a book.