This blog was written by Desirae Flores, our Campus Ambassador from the University of Iowa.
It’s about that time to start applying for internships/jobs and you begin to notice that some of the companies you are interested in are holding a variety of events for students. So you ask yourself, should I attend these events? Yes, of course you should!
Employers can offer many different events and the reason is so that they can meet YOU! They want to see how you would fit in with the company and it is a great opportunity for you to see if the company is the right fit for you. When you are with the employer think about whether or not you can picture yourself working with the people you meet. If you find that you are having mixed feelings it is important to take that into consideration during the rest of the application process. Think about it, how effective is your work when you are on a team with people you like compared to people you don’t like? Most likely, your work quality is higher with people you enjoy being around because there is better team cohesion.
Another benefit that seems to get overlooked is that you are trying to get yourself out there and make a positive first impression. Companies will remember the people who attend their events because they get to know you on a personal level rather than just what is on your resume. Whereas people who don’t go are at a slight disadvantage because the company doesn’t know how they interact with a variety of people. Remember, networking is vital especially at company sponsored social events.
At the beginning of this semester I was new to this whole process and I didn’t know what to do, how to act or even if it would be beneficial for me to go to the events. For the most part I felt intimidated by the fact that all of my actions would be judged. Despite my uneasiness, within a couple of I went to events such as office hours, mini golf, a snack stop, receptions and pre-interview dinners. My experience at those events gave me insight of what to expect as an attendee. Since it can be nerve wracking for some people here’s some words of advice to help you make the best impression with the companies.
Separate from your friends (if they are attending): This is your opportunity to get your name out there so that you will be recognizable and noticeable.
Ask questions: Whether it’s about the company, a specific job, the internship program, ect. you are showing the employer that you are interested in learning the company. If you don’t know what to ask and just want to get a conversation started on a personal level ask “What keeps you busy outside of work?”
Step outside of your comfort zone: It is not the right time or place to be shy/quiet because if you don’t speak up for yourself, who will?
Find the person you will be interviewing with and talk to them: This applies to any pre-interview social event. The main reason for talking with the interviewer is so that at the interview you won’t be nervous and it will feel like you’re having a normal conversation with them.
Be yourself: The main goal of attending the event is so that you can see if the company is a good fit for you and vice versa, there is no need to feel intimidated.