It’s that time of year– the college career fair circuit is in full effect. One of the goals of the Viacom College Relations team is to spread awareness about our internship program. In the fall, we travel to a variety of college campuses every week to find talented students (like you).
It’s always rewarding to meet students in person, hear about their passions, and tell them about the great opportunities they have ahead of them. Some of the young people we meet really blow us away, but unfortunately that’s not always the case. It’s easy to make a great impression if you follow a few rules. This is why I feel it’s important to outline the do’s and don’ts of career fairs.
Don’t: Show up empty-handed.
Do: Come prepared; bring copies of your resume
The whole point of attending a career fair is to promote yourself and your abilities. Come prepared with your resume and an explanation of why you would be a great addition to a company.
Don’t: Wander aimlessly through the fair.
Do: Some research on the companies attending and have an idea about which ones meet your interests
We often have students come up to our table and ask “What is Viacom?” Of course, the purpose of fairs are to learn more about specific organizations, but typically companies are asked to provide information in advance so that students can see who is attending beforehand. Most fairs give out a program with a background on each area attending as well.
It’s impressive when a student approaches us and they are already familiar with our network. It shows initiative. Don’t be afraid to let a company know if you are excited to meet them, or if you came to the fair just because you heard they were attending. This will make you stand out among the rest.
Don’t: Give a limp handshake.
Do: Give a firm handshake and a polite greeting
There’s nothing worse than a limp handshake. A firm handshake shows confidence and enthusiasm. It almost says: “I’m here, and I’m ready.” It’s equally important to see a big smile on a student’s face. It makes an employer feel even more excited to speak with you. When we can see the passion on your face, we know without you saying a word that you are interested in our company.
Do: Find out a list of contacts from career services and follow-up when you feel better
As previously mentioned, you shake a lot of hands during fairs. I’ve gotten sick after attending a few (and I’ve learned that hand sanitizer is your friend). Believe me, it will not impress a company if you tell them you were sick but came anyway to meet them.
Don’t: Be unclear about your aspirations.
Do: Have an idea of what type of internship/job you’d like to obtain
When you are working with a company the size of Viacom, the opportunities are endless. We have a variety of internships in everything from Business Development to Design. And when you are in a “speed dating” like atmosphere you may only have a few minutes to speak to an employer. Therefore, the clearer idea you have of what you are looking for the better. This way the employer can tell you right away the type of options they have in that specific field.
Don’t: Roll out of bed and come to the fair.
Do: Dress to impress
You want to treat this experience as you would a job interview. Business professional attire is best. Most companies view this as an initial interview stage, and some companies have been known to hire students right on the spot at fairs.
Hope to see you out there! Click here for a list of the fairs we at Viacom will be attending.
Andrea currently holds the position of Manager of College Relations for Viacom. Viacom is one of the world’s leading creators of entertainment content, with brands that engage and connect diverse audiences across television, online, mobile, games, virtual worlds and consumer products. With more than 160 channels worldwide, Viacom owns and operates favorites including MTV, VH1, Nickelodeon, Comedy Central and many others. As Manager, Andrea recruits, interviews, and places intern candidates throughout Viacom’s brands and divisions. She also assists with the planning and facilitation of both internal and external events for the internship program including orientations, speaker/informational forums, and campus recruitment. Andrea is tasked with making and maintaining relationships with students and their schools, as well as the staff at Viacom. Connect with Andrea on Facebook and Twitter and learn more about the Viacom Internship Program.