From Neckties to Namecards: Making the Most of a Career Fair

What: UIC Business Career Fair

When: Monday, September 21 from 11:00a.m. to 2:00p.m.          

Where: UIC Student Center East, Illinois Room

 

The internet has radically changed the job hunt. Not only does the idea of handing out resumes downtown seem quaint; even the print classifieds feel like an unreliable place to look for work. The prevalence of digital classifieds and online job boards has both simplified the job search and made the process almost entirely Web-based. But those who have tried, know - you can submit 50 applications in a week and never hear a word in reply, much less get an interview. Because it's so easy to apply, employers simply receive too many applications. Face-to-face interaction, the most certain way to make an impression, is increasingly hard to come by. Hence the job fair. 

The UIC Business Career Fair is right around the corner, which means now is the time to prepare. In his MBA 590 class on improvisation and leadership, Professor Michael Popowits shares some useful considerations: 

 

  • Do your homework. Rehearse your elevator pitch and practice responding to the inevitable prompt, “tell me about yourself.” If you can't paint a clear picture of your character, experiences and ambitions, then employers won't know what they're looking at. 
  • Don't be a lurker. Introduce yourself! Welcome each employer to UIC with a smile and a firm handshake. Share your name, grade level and major, as well as your reason for wanting to meet the company. 
  • Adopt the employer’s perspective. Too often we focus on our own needs at the expense of understanding what an employer is looking for. 
  • Thank them for their time. This is an easy and polite way to wrap up a conversation. Ask for a business card and, if you get an email address, send the recruiter a thank-you email later in the day.

 

Monster.com offers a few more pointers for preparing a resume before a career fair, but not just “a” resume. One of their tips is to tailor different versions of your resume to different companies participating in the fair, which leads to another important point: find out which companies will be represented at the career fair and start researching them. Here's who you'll find at the UIC Business Career Fair:

 

Aegis Worldwide                                                                        Maxim Healthcare Services

ALDI Inc.                                                                                    Merkle

Allstate Insurance Company                                                      Merrill Lynch

Amazon                                                                                      Mu Sigma Inc

Bank of America                                                                         MultiPlan

Bronner Group, LLC                                                                   National Futures Association

Caterpillar                                                                                   Nolan Transportation Group

CDW                                                                                           Northwestern Mutual

CNA                                                                                            Office of the Comptroller of the Currency

Cortland Capital Market Services                                               Prudential Financial

Crowe Horwath                                                                           SmithBucklin

Enterprise Rent-a-Car                                                                Standard Bank and Trust Co.

First Investors Corporation                                                         Target Corporation

First Midwest Bank                                                                     The McTigue Financial Group 

Hoopis Financial                                                                         Total Quality Logistics

INROADS                                                                                   True Partners Consulting LLC

InternshipDesk                                                                            ULTA Distribution

ITW                                                                                             Verizon Wireless

Liberty Mutual

 

UIC Business has its own set of career fair tips, as do many other schools. A few especially useful pages are Virginia Tech’s, Berkeley’s, and this UCLA do’s-and-don’ts video. For a complete list of participating companies, as well as an interactive floor plan and other event details, check out the free UIC Career Fair Plus app for Android and iOS. 

Questions about the UIC Business Career Fair? Contact Noaman Peerzada, npeerz2@uic.edu.