Within the Honors Program and St. Norbert College, there are numerous resources for on-campus professional development. For instance, the Office of Career & Professional Development recently held the Spring 2018 Career and Internship Fair this February. Held once each semester, the Career and Internship Fair is meant to provide students with the chance to brush up on their professional skills, interact with potential employers, and find internship and job opportunities. Professionals from the area and across WI--many of whom are represented by St. Norbert alumni--gather in Michels Ballroom to engage with our students. Every semester, several of our honors students take the initiative to work on their professional development and track down internship and employment arrangements to enhance their resume and advance in experiential learning, as well as make a large impact within the Brown County area and their local communities as leaders and innovators in their fields.
While taking classes, getting involved on campus, reaching your college goals, and maintaining a life balance may already seem tough to balance, it’s also incredibly important to focus on your professional development. After all, gaining career experience and preparing for life after graduation is the primary goal of studying at St. Norbert College, right? If you are a student looking for ways to get ahead, here are some resources and tips for ways to make the most of your Career and Internship Fair experience and work on your professional development:
Create a resume! The Honors Program hosts workshops in collaboration with the Office of Career & Professional Development or visit their office to meet with career counselors. Then, submit your resume for approval to PurpleBriefcase. Finally, make sure to print it out on special resume paper either at the Career Office or print center.
Research employers. Before entering the career fair or an interview, learn more about the employer you are talking to so that you can make time valuable for both you and them. Strategize which employers may seem like a good fit for your major and skills set. The Office of Career & Professional Development will also post a list of employers prior to the career fair.
Look professional! Just like college is a financial investment, so is employment. Buy a nice suit, or at the very least wear a nice blazer with dress pants. First impressions count! You may be shocked at how expensive a matching business suit can be, but it is just one of those painful steps you must take toward being an employed adult that will eventually pay off.
Be prepared! The Office of Career & Professional Development offers many resources for internship searches, interviewing, and more. For instance, look over the Career and Internship Prep Guide at least a week before the career fair to give yourself time to think and gather any last-minute materials. There are a lot of smaller things you may not have thought about beforehand, and taking a few minutes to mentally prepare will be a good refresher on how to impress future employers.
Practice your handshake and elevator pitch. Make sure you know how to do a proper handshake (put your hand in the “saddle” of their hand, meeting at the webbing of the thumb, do a double-pump, and be firm). Also, know how to sell yourself with your “elevator pitch.” Who are you? What are some highlights of your resume and personality that may make you appear to be a good fit to a recruiter? What type of job or internship are you looking for and how will this help you with your future employment goal? If you don’t know the answers to those big questions, take some time to reflect and perhaps rethink some ways you can get more experiences that will help you learn more about yourself or become more qualified for the jobs you want.
Send follow-up notes or emails to employers you are seriously interested in! This is a major step that many people often forget about. Take a business card or flier with the employer’s contact information and send a brief note expressing your consideration of their business. Sending a brief note signals that you are intentional and will make you stand out!
Start attending the Career and Internship Fair freshman year! Even if you aren’t thinking about taking on an internship anytime soon, the career fair is an important space to work on your networking skills and get familiar with local employers.
For more information on career and professional development, read this article on the Pulse! Or, check out the Office of Career & Professional Development Facebook page for upcoming events. Finally, stay up-to-date with Honors Program resources like our social media and the Honors Pulse!