During the fall of 2016, I attended the Information Technology Career Fair in Alter Hall. Although it is not as large as the Fox Career Fair in Mitten Hall, the IBIT fair is essential for students looking for technology internships. However, it can be extremely navigate career fairs for multiple reasons– one of the biggest being that there are too many students and too many employers, and students do not actively prepare for the fair.
Going to IBIT, I was able to talk to every company I was interested in applying in an internship for. Some of the companies I talked to included Cigna, Grant Thornton, Lockheed Martin, PwC, and TD, but I talked to almost 15 in total. This helped me get a better understanding of what the employers at the companies were like as well as whether I connected with their corporate culture. I was also able to ask past interns their experience with the company, which can be an essential deciding factor when deciding whether to accept a position.
As an attendee, I mapped out the locations of the companies that I wanted to see when I entered the room and devised a route to most efficiently traverse the room. I also prepared ahead of time by seeing what postings were already in FoxNet by the employers so I could add to my talking points with recruiters. Additionally, I did some quick background research on companies I was interested in. Finally, I made sure to number my companies in order so that if I began to run out of time, I could prioritize which companies to see first. It can be surprisingly easy to run out of time at career fairs, especially since students tend to have to wait in line to talk to recruiters (sometimes for longer than 20 minutes).