Career Day: Stand out in 30 seconds or less

“They’re basically handing you the answers to the test.” Something every Mines students wants to hear, right? Jean Manning-Clark visited from the CSM Career Center to give students the lowdown on how to stand out at Career Day and get noticed by the companies they want the most. And, to help students get connected, Manning-Clark kindly presented the five p’s to Success: plan, prepare, practice, personal appearance, and performance.

Planning is where it all begins. Manning-Clark suggests that students create a spreadsheet containing all information needed during Career Day. Company names, benefits and drawbacks, and contact information are all very pertinent. And as students work through Career Day, they should be both taking notes and checking off completed tasks.

Students should prepare for Career Day by consistently updating their spreadsheets. A huge advantage for proactive students is the motivation to apply prior to meeting with recruiters. Most companies offer online applications, while many companies actually require them. Manning-Clark tells students that “there is nothing worse than getting to Career Day and hearing ‘go apply online.’” 

An applicant’s personal appearance is their first impression on an employer. Manning-Clark advocated the idea of “think[ing] about every recruiter you see as a potential job offer.” Do not arrive at Career Day wearing jeans, shorts, or flip-flops. If a student cannot appear professional for an impromptu interview, what makes the employer believe they would be able to pull it off as a career?

The number one question that recruiters hate being asked is, “So, what does your company do?” Do your homework! Anyone would be flattered to know that a student took the extra time to research their company before Career Day. And practice what to say to the recruiter by verbalizing your 30-second commercial before arriving to Career Day. For extra practice, interview packets are available at the Career Center.

The 30-second interview is the make-or-break moment for students to make the connection with a recruiter. Perform your best by “[making] sure you are always projecting the top image,” Manning-Clark instructed students. As you approach the recruiter, flash a smile and make a firm handshake. A tip for people who tend to get sweaty hands is to keep a tissue in your pocket, or even rubbing a small amount of baby powder on your palms. After introducing yourself, inform the recruiter of your grade, major, and why you picked it. Then talk about your extra achievements – what sets you apart from everyone else?  Enlighten the recruiter of your goals and objectives before wrapping up the 30-second commercial. In the end, write down contact information (the interviewer’s name, at the very least) and thank them for their time.

“I chose Mines because I really wanted to represent the best,” Manning-Clark praised. “These companies pay tens of thousands of dollars just to come see you.” So, no pressure, right? Remember to start with the company you are interested in the least and work your way up. This gets out the nerves and boosts confidence. Handle tough questions by slowing down, breathing deep, and even deflecting answers to buy time. Good luck at Spring Career Day 2011, Mines!

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