Getting Ready for Business Horizons
The buzzword around Pamplin nowadays has been “Business Horizons.” Whether you are a freshman who has never heard of a career fair before or a senior who has been awaiting this day to secure that full-time job, all of us can benefit from going to Business Horizons on Thursday. If you do plan on attending (which you should!), here are some tips I have for all you CWIB members!
1. Do your research!
The best thing you can do to prepare for Business Horizons is research the companies that are going to be there. This will help you target the companies you actually want to talk to. Also, doing research about the company’s mission, goals, latest projects, and notable employees can give you something to leverage during your conversation. Let me tell you a horrifying experience I had at Business Horizons a couple of years ago. As a sophomore, I went to the career fair to see what opportunities they had for younger students like me at the time. I barely did any research. Unfortunately, I went up to a company I had never heard of before and said, “Oh, you do consulting work, right?” The mood between the recruiter and I suddenly shifted as he responded with, “No, we are a marketing company.” I was so embarrassed! Lesson learned: go to the official Business Horizons website and learn more about who will be there before Thursday.
2. Look prepared!
The first impression that recruiters will get of you is from your appearance. Check out the last CWIB Chronicles article to make sure that your ensemble is appropriate for Thursday! Business Horizons is a business professional event, so come decked out in your best suits and other professional attire! In addition, make sure you have a pad-folio or folder to keep all of your resumes in, and a pen to jot down notes. I suggest having ~20 copies of your resume, but of course, that number can change depending on how many companies you plan on visiting.
3. Get your nerves out
One of the best tips I got for Business Horizons is to start out by talking to a few companies that you aren’t that interested in and then go to your top companies towards the end so you can get your nerves out. Also, you could step out of Commonwealth Ballroom for a couple of minutes to get a sip of water or chat with a friend to relax for a bit. Walking into career fairs can be intimidating and stressful, so make sure to build your confidence throughout the day!
4. Master your elevator pitch
An elevator pitch is a quick, ~30-second blurb about yourself that you recite to recruiters and any other professional connections you encounter while searching for a job. There are several different variations of what an elevator speech is comprised of, but all of them should include some combination of the following: your name, grade, major & minor (s), past work experience, leadership roles, and interests. Tailor your elevator pitch to the job you want. For instance, if you are looking for a marketing job, mention any roles you’ve had where you’ve designed graphics, created a business plan to strengthen a company’s brand or events you’ve put on to market a product/service! Show the recruiter that you have the skills for that job!
5. Be yourself!
All of you CWIB members are strong, intelligent, and accomplished young women with excellent grades and impressive work experiences. That kind of information can be shown on your resume and/or in your elevator pitch. When you are interacting with a recruiter, make sure to be yourself. He/she wants to get to know the real you and determine if you would be a good fit for their company. If you act like someone you’re not, they won’t get an accurate picture of what kind of person you are. Remember, stay professional, but don’t feel pressured to act so robotic that you hide your wonderful personality behind your padfolio.
6. Follow up
The conversation doesn’t just end on Thursday after Business Horizons. If you are really interested in a company, ask for a business card from one of the people at their booths and email them within a few days of the career fair. Reaching out to them will showcase your interest and help you stand out among other candidates. Think about how you feel when someone reaches out to you with a short, thoughtful note after you see them. It works the same way in the business world!