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College of Design

Friday, October 16, 2015

Networking, job fairs, and putting yourself out there!

As a graduating Senior this May (eek!), the past few weeks have been filled with applying, interviewing, and networking with professionals. While landing a job after graduation seems very stressful, there are amazing resources here on campus that you can utilize to learn about all the potential we have as Retail Merchandising students! With my Internship Preparation course, research, mentors, and general networking, I have come up with a few tricks to help with career fairs and networking events. Here are some of the tips that stuck most with me:

-Visit the Career and Internship Service Center. Seriously. It’s not scary at all and they can help you with everything from finding open jobs, to making new networking connections, and even critiquing your resume and cover letters!

-Make sure to bring your newly-critiqued, amazing resume to the job fair and networking events.

-SMILE. Also, shake hands while introducing yourself. This will help you have something to do in the first 5 seconds if you panic and start to get nervous.

-Have an elevator pitch ready. So ready that it is almost second nature. This will help start the flow of conversation from the very beginning.

-Research the companies beforehand. Also, try to do some research on the representatives that will be there. Brand reps love to talk about their company…that’s why they are there! Make sure to ask questions about what they love most about their brand, their company culture, etc.

-Wear something that makes you feel good. This will give you extra confidence and might even make you stand out more to the recruiters! Always dress business casual with something unique that makes you feel awesome. The Limited and Express are my personal favorite stores to get more business pieces!

-Ask for a business card and shake their hand.

-Make sure to follow up with the recruiters later that day and thank them for their time. Add in something that will help them remember you specifically from your earlier conversation.

-Connect with the professionals you met via LinkedIn.

All in all, networking is something that shouldn’t scare you. It is an opportunity to meet new professionals and learn about what makes them so passionate about your career field!