Over 300 companies will swarm Memorial Mall this week. Students should use this opportunity to find a summer internship or a co-op.
Industrial Roundtable, the yearly job fair held by the Purdue Engineering Student Council (PESC), can be an obscenely stressful time for many engineering students. The roundtable is the best time of the year to snag a dream internship, but you also have to compete with hordes of skilled students for these opportunities.
Last year, as a freshman, I had no idea how to tackle this mammoth. Now, as a one-year veteran with some advice from the Center for Career Opportunity and PESC, I have compiled a few useful pointers for this years industrial roundtable.
i) Research — Visit the PESC website to search for companies and fields that interest you. Following this, look up the company website to familiarize yourself with its products and business. If you are interested in its fiscal year statistics, utilize the Purdue Libraries website, specifically search engines such as Lexis-Nexis and OneSource. This background information is essential to make intelligent inquiries to potential employers.
ii) Resume — Before the round table, edit your resume multiple times and have the CCO edit it at least once. They have the professionals who can show you how to catch a potential employer’s eye. On the day of IR, carry several copies of your resume on neat resume paper, preferably in a professional looking folder. Furthermore, bring a copy of your resume on a flash drive because some companies only accept digital copies.
iii) Dress sharp and look smart — During the job fair, the dress code is business. Shine your shoes, iron your clothes and look professional. Since you will have only a few fleeting moments with the representatives, first impressions are critical; there is no need to shock an employer with outlandish clothing. If you do get an interview, take your attire up a step. Women typically don a blazer or sweater with a matching skirt or slacks while men wear well-pressed suits. The latter step proves to the employer that you can dress professionally and are the classy type they are looking for.
iv) Confidence — Bring your game face to the table. Give yourself enough time to study the map of the job fair and acclimate yourself to the bustle in the mall. It may be easier to start off with a low-priority company, to warm up, before approaching your top prospects. Upon meeting the representative, smile, extend your hand and introduce yourself. Don’t be afraid to brag about yourself; the company representatives want to know about you.
v) Follow Through — Before the roundtable, register yourself on the CCO Express website. After the fair, follow the representative’s instructions to load your resume on the company’s website and to apply for specific jobs. If necessary, email the representative; it could open up unexpected doors in the future.
All engineering students should attend the Industrial Roundtable. This is especially true for freshmen since it provides a great opportunity to network with industry representatives and find your dream internship.
Ronit Patnaik is a sophomore in the College of Engineering. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.