Career Fair Prep: Researching internship options

PREPARE TO ATTEND THE FAIR

  • Review the list of employers who will be present and make a list of those you find interesting (regardless of what positions they are recruiting for). Use filters like your major, skills, position type, or interest area to narrow the list.
  • Visit each organization’s website to identify the population they work with, where they are located, and what positions they are recruiting for. 
  • Develop a list of questions, based on your research, to ask the employer at the fair (sample questions below).
  • Create your 30-second pitch to be used in your introduction. Be upfront with the employer about your goals (i.e. I am only a sophomore, but I saw your position advertised and thought it was so interesting. I would love to know more about it because I anticipate applying for an internship with you in the future.”).
  • Employers may ask for a resume so they can stay in touch with you. Develop a general résumé and print multiple copies on résumé paper. If you are interested in a particular field, create a targeted résumé.
  • Dress professionallyif possible. You only have one chance to make a great first impression.
  • Buy/borrow a folder or carrying case to hold your résumés, keys, paper, pencil, and business cards so that your hands are free for handshakes.
  • Study the layout of the fair and be prepared to visit key employers. A paper listing of employers may not be available at the Fair.

 

EXCEL AT THE FAIR

  • Give employers what they are looking for: skills, confidence, be respectful.
  • Be conscious of the employer’s time, especially if there is a line behind you.
  • Do not be distracted by the employers give aways and gimmicks.
  • Display your name tag on your right side below your shoulder. The visual reminder will help some employers remember your name.
  • Don’t forget to introduce yourself and use your 30-second pitch when needed. It is ok to glance down at your prepared questions if you forget what you wanted to ask.
  • If you have to wait in a line to speak to employers, listen to others’ conversations. Use the information to make your questions even better.
  • Talk to employers who approach you. You don’t have to research all organizations attending in order to talk with an employer showing interest in you.  
  • Ask for contact information so you can stay in touch.

 

POST FAIR TIPS

  • If you really enjoyed talking to an organization and you want them to remember you, consider sending them a thank you email to follow-up on your conversation. Include a thanks, highlight your skills, remind them of what position you discussed, and highlight the next step (i.e. “I look forward to learning more about the Fall 2015 internship position over the summer and I will review your twitter link as suggested”).
  • Mark your calendar to follow-up on the internship information you found interesting.
  • Engage with the organizations of interest through social media (Twitter, LinkedIn, blogs, etc.).
  • Visit the website of organizations you are interested in and register to receive internship alerts. 
  • Find your organization of interest in Careers4Terps’ Employer Directory and click the “favorite star”. All events or positions the employer posts on Careers4Terps will appear under “Notification” located on the Home page of Careers4Terps.

 

SAMPLE QUESTIONS

  • I see that x, y, and z skills are important for the XX internship position, can you tell me any additional skills you look for?
  • What is a typical day like in the XX internship position?
  • Is there a hiring timeline for the XX internship position?
  • Is there a skill set that most applicants are missing?
  • Are there certain school or previous job experiences that best qualify students for this internship program?
  • Can you walk me through the internship application process? Is it best to apply online? Are cover letters preferred?
  • How do you usually advertise XX positions?
  • I see that you offer summer internships, are spring and fall internships available as well?
  • I see you are a UMD alum, what was your major? Did you have internship experiences when you were an undergraduate?