GENERAL Q & A

WHAT YEAR SHOULD I ATTEND MY FIRST JOB FAIR?
It is never too early to attend your first job fair. Although you may not be on the job market as a freshman or sophomore in college, attending a job fair could give you an idea of the types of organizations that exist in your field, or the types of jobs that you can get. Make sure you go to job fairs prepared regardless of what stage of career planning you are in. You never know who you will meet or what kind of opportunities the career fair can bring. Therefore, dress appropriately (see Making the Most of a Job Fair), and if you ARE on the job market, bring a few copies of your resume (make sure your resume proofed by a mentor or career services counselor). Written by: Jill Bowers
Additional resources for attending job fairs:
How to Prepare for a Job/Career Fair [Virgina Tech website]
Top Ten Tips for Students Attending Career or Job Fairs [Quintessential Careers]
Job Fair 101; What to Wear Bring, and Ask [Men’s Life Today]

HOW SHOULD I DRESS TO MY JOB INTERVIEW?
Dress for success. The appropriate attire will vary, depending on the job for which you are applying. If possible, do your homework and know what kind of attire employees in the same positions wear or have worn. If they wear uniforms, you will have to use your own judgment. For many college graduates, business or business casual would be most appropriate. Unless you are told that shorts, jeans, or t-shirts are okay, do not wear them. For most positions, no one cares to see your behind, cleavage, or the tattoo of your grandmother on your arm.  So make sure all of your body parts are covered, even when reaching up or bending over. Be hesitant to wear facial, or too many, rings. Make sure you can walk in your shoes. If you believe the interview is more casual, or you are meeting with a professor rather than employer where you probably do not need to wear business attire, you should still think about your clothing. With t-shirts, for example, remember that words and graphics that you find amusing could be offensive to others. Be cautious and think before you dress.

Written by: Jill Bowers; Mikki Meadows

Additional resources for job interview attire:
Eight “Do’s” and “Don’ts” of Dress for Job Interviews [Huffington Post] How to Dress for Your Job Interview (12 Guidelines) [The Undercover Recruiter]


SHOULD I ARRIVE AT A CERTAIN TIME EARLY OR JUST RIGHT ON TIME?
I recommend that you arrive 10-15 minutes early. This way, if you can’t find a parking place, get lost, or have difficulties finding the right office, you still have a few extra minutes. Arriving early will give you a chance to go to the restroom, give yourself a pep talk, check for lipstick on your teeth, or burgers in your nose (nothing more distracting and a way to make sure the interviewer listens to nothing you say).

Written by: Melanie Burns


HOW IMPORTANT IS PUTTING RELEVANT RESOURCES DOWN ON A JOB APPLICATION?
I believe you might be referring to references…relevant references might include professors, previous employers, someone who you have volunteered for, or a leader of a professional organization you have been involved in. Having resources like this are really important, which is why you want to start making connections and ceasing opportunities to network or work for/with professionals early in your academic career. If you lack work or volunteer experiences, you could talk to a family friend or community member and if you have one that is in a related field (related to the position you are applying), even better!

Written by: Jill Bowers

Additional resources for job applications:

Will a Lack of References Cost You a Job Offer? [CNNMoney] Job References: How to Format and Present Them [The Ladders] 10 Common Job Reference Mistakes [U.S. News)


HOW CAN I START NETWORKING?
Get to know your professors, bosses, or other professionals in the field. You can start with one and may be surprised how many opportunities and connections a good mentor can lead you to. Approaching professors or other professionals that you have not talked to may be intimidating, yet it is important that you get some confidence and be willing to put yourself out there. Ask professors if they are looking for any undergraduates or students to work on projects they have going on. Talk to graduate or teaching assistants and ask them for advice. They may even be willing to proof your emails to professors, introduce you to someone, or have ideas about how you can get started. You could also network through Linked in or professional associations in your major.

Written by: Jill Bowers

Additional resources for network:

Networking [Entrepreneur] The Successful Job Search: It’s All About Networking [NPR] Networking [The Career Key]


WHO SHOULD BE MY FIRST NETWORK CONTACT (PROFESSOR, TA, OTHER STUDENTS?)
To me, your first networking contact isn’t nearly as important as you networking!  Every contact you make is essential and important in its own way.  Additionally, see Bowers’ response above.

Written by: Melanie Burns 


WHEN I FIRST NETWORK WITH A PERSON, AND THEY INTRODUCE ME TO OTHER CONTACTS, IS IT COMMON COURTESY TO SEND THEM A THANK YOU E-MAIL?
Most definitely!  Good manners and a gracious attitude will get you far in life.

Written by: Melanie Burns 


WHAT TONE SHOULD I SET IN THE JOB INTERVIEW
I recommend you let the person that is leading the interview set the tone. When you are introduced you should offer your hand (if you are in the United States) for a firm shake, state your name (if it was not used when you were introduced) or say “thank you for seeing me.” At that point you can wait for the person leading the interview to lead the conversational tone. If you are unsure, proceed on the side of caution. It is always better to be a little too formal, than to be too casual. For example, avoid using someone’s first name unless instructed to do so.

Written by: Mikki Sherwood


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