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How to Be Successful at Business Horizons

Business Horizons can seem intimidating at first, as hundreds of companies are in attendance, but it is nothing to stress about. These companies are coming to Virginia Tech because they want to hire Hokies like you! With a few tips and tricks from this article, you should be ready to fully conquer Business Horizons on February 6th!

Perfect Your Resume:

One of the most crucial components of a successful job, internship, or externship search is a resume that will catch someone’s eye. According to Forbes, a recruiter spends an average of 6.25 seconds looking at a candidate’s resume before deciding whether he or she is fit for the job. Your resume should contain a proper heading, your education information, job experience, activities or clubs, and accomplishments. It is essential that there are no irrelevant details, as the longer it takes for a recruiter to read it, the smaller your chances become of landing an interview. When attending Business Horizons, you should bring about 20 copies of your resume, give or take a few depending on how many companies you plan to approach. In order to look professional to the recruiters, it is also best to place them in a padfolio or neutral-colored folder. Companies want to hire organized, prepared employees!  

For an in-depth guide on what each of the resume categories entails, watch this Virtual Resume Workshop video provided by Pamplin Career Services. In addition, the Virginia Tech Career and Professional Development office offers free resume reviews. Learn more about it here.

As you can see, hundreds of people attend Business Horizons, which is why it is important to stand out! Photo courtesy of Virginia Tech Daily.

Make a Good First Impression:

Your first impression to a recruiter can be a make or break opportunity. You will be thankful you took the time to make yourself look presentable before heading to Business Horizons! First, your attire should be business professional. This means you may wear dress pants or a skirt and pair that with a dress shirt or blouse, and a blazer. You can also opt to wear a dress as well. No matter what outfit you choose, complete it with closed-toed heels or flats. Remember, everything must be modest! Heels should be 2.5 inches or less. Dresses and skirts should come to around the knee, and nothing should be too tight. Also, it is preferable to keep patterns and colors to a minimum. It is also best to keep hair, makeup, and jewelry simple. You do not want to distract the recruiter in a negative way. Finally, make sure you greet the employer with a smile, eye contact, a personable “Hello, my name is ____,” and a firm handshake. Acting and looking professional can go a long way! It will help give you the confidence you need to make a great first impression on employers.

Members of the New York City trek pose in perfect examples of business professional attire. Photo by of Gigi Jones

Prepare For the Big Day:

In order to prepare for Business Horizons, view the different companies registered to attend right here! What companies do you want to prioritize? Where is their booth? How many companies do you want to see? These are all important questions to ask yourself to ensure you are prepared to walk through the doors of the career fair. One of the most impressive characteristics of a potential employee or intern is that they are knowledgeable about a recruiter’s company in advance. Know your information about the companies you are targeting! This information could include the history of the company, the culture in their office, popular projects the company has undertaken, or important business deals. It is also essential to know the current situation of companies you are interested in, such as expansions to the company. Additionally, have questions ready to ask certain companies. That is a great way to show how you are prepared. Remember, you should want to learn about this company if you strive to work there!

A Virginia Tech student chats with a GE job recruiter at a previous Business Horizons fair. Photo courtesy of the Virginia Tech Daily.

Practice Beforehand:

A great way to prep for the business fair is to start networking early by attending the company day on Tuesday, February 5th, from 10 am to 2 pm in the Pamplin Atrium. Hajoca, Select Group, nCino, Future Housing Leaders, IBM, CIA, and Accenture will all be there! Even if you are not interested in these specific companies, it is still a great opportunity to practice networking before Business Horizons. It will also benefit you to practice what you will say to the recruiters with a friend, teacher, or fellow CWIB member. This will help release nerves! Practice using the information you have researched while incorporating different components about yourself. This is also a great opportunity to practice your handshake, tone of voice, and eye contact. Rather than spending time worrying about what to say to recruiters during the careers fair, you will be relieved and confident that you practiced ahead of time!

Any member of the CWIB leadership team pictured above would gladly help you prepare before Business Horizons! Photo courtesy of Collegiate Women in Business

Follow up:

During your time at Business Horizons, ask for business cards. It is important to have an email, address, or the phone number of the company or recruiter to ensure that you can follow up with them after meeting. As stated before, there are hundreds of people who attend the career fair. Therefore, recruiters may unintentionally forget your name or what you discussed. In order for the company or recruiter to remember who you are, you should follow up with them within 24 to 72 hours. It is best to email or send a thank you card, but if neither of those are possibilities, you can call them on the phone. Thank them for their time and consideration of your resume, reiterate your goal, remind them why you are qualified, and highlight that you would love to work for their company. These follow-ups should not be excessive in length or time. Also, make sure to be polite, rather than forceful, when you are contacting the recruiter.

Following-up reminders! Photo Courtesy of The Balance Careers

Good luck at Business Horizons, everyone! You all are well-qualified individuals and with the right preparation, you will do fantastic on Wednesday. If you need any help with resumes or need any further assistance with preparing for the career fair, feel free to reach out to a CWIB leader!

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