The HOD Internship Fair is Wednesday, January 31st, and will include representatives from a variety of organizations. Read below for tips on how to prepare for the fair, what to do during the fair, and how to best follow-up after the experience.
Tips to Prepare for the HOD Internship Fair
An internship fair is a unique and interesting place to look for internship opportunities or information about the internship market. Students will improve their chances of making good contacts at this event by following these suggestions:
Before the Fair
- Edit your resume and visit the Career Center (vanderbilt.edu/career) walk in hours for additional feedback.
- Print at least 10 copies of your resume on resume/bond paper. Vanderbilt printing services offers this service. Be sure to give them 24 hours’ notice (http://printingservices.vanderbilt.edu).
- Prepare your response to “Tell me about yourself” in a 30 second elevator speech (refer to your HOD 2400 coursework and/or your HOD Internship Search Process Worksheet to refresh your memory).
- Develop responses to common interview questions including: What industry are you interested in and why? Why are interested in working for our company? What are your personal strengths/weaknesses? Develop a response for a time when you have failed and what you learned from the situation.
- Practice your interview responses with friends and/or visit https://www.vanderbilt.edu//career/commodore-exchange/making-connections/interviewing/
- Review the list of attending employers and research the ones you are particularly interested in. Research the contact name on LinkedIN so you can customize questions at the internship fair. These steps demonstrate initiative and market research.
- Develop a plan of action for the top 5 sites you want to connect with at the fair. It will be crowded and this will ease your anxiety.
During the Fair
- First impressions are critical. Conservative, well-pressed, tailored business attire is your best choice.
- Arrive early or right on time to the internship fair, not all employers will stay until the end.
- Visit the employers you are most interested in first.
- Be open. Be willing to explore sites you may not have researched, but draw your interest at the fair.
- When you are meeting with employers, chewing gum, eating, or drinking are inappropriate.
- Do not travel in pairs or groups. Employers hire individuals and want to speak with you without your friends.
- If you are in line to speak with an employer, wait 2-3 steps behind the person who is currently speaking with them.
- Approach an employer with confidence, introduce yourself, and shake their hand.
- Do not ask if the internship is paid or not, unless the discussion is prompted by employer.
- As you close your conversation with the employer, ask what the next step in the interview process will be and get their business card.
- Make notes (on the back of their business cards) after speaking with an employer before moving on to the next one (i.e. name of person you spoke with, important considerations/talking points). This will be helpful for thank you notes, evaluating your options, and preparing for interviews.
- Remember, the employers are at the fair because they are looking for someone and they are all hoping that it is you!
After the Fair
- Say thank you and thank you again. Write a thank you message to the employers you connected with.
- In the thank you card, remind the employer that you met them at the job fair, express your appreciation, and give a short reminder on your qualifications and why you are interested in the job and attach a copy of your resume.
- You will receive an email the day after the fair with a link to a Google Document. Fill-in the information from your brochure that you completed during the fair. You will need to provide the contact names of 5 employers that you talked to, their organization they are a part of, and one thing you learned from each conversation.
- Visit the Vanderbilt Career Center’s website for a variety of tips and resources (Vanderbilt Career Center)
- Developing Your Elevator Speech
- Vault is a very helpful website for all things related to professional internships. We recommend creating an account…it’s free! (Vault)
Good luck and let us know if you have questions or concerns. The HOD internship office is open 8:30-4:30 Monday-Friday in Mayborn 104.