Why go to the Engineering Career Fairs?

I don’t believe job or internship seekers should depend on “click here to apply” as the beginning, middle, and end of their search for opportunities. Anyone who’s met with me or attended one of my workshops has heard me go on (and on and on) about this topic.

To be sure, the Center for Career Development does provide “warm leads” through job postings in HuskyCareerLink. These are a bit different because they’re from employers specifically going out of their way to seek applications from UConn students. No, I’m referring to those postings you see on external websites – either companies’ own pages, or big job boards like Indeed and CareerBuilder.

What’s missing from most “click here to apply” postings is any assurance that a single human eye will ever even see your resume. Ever.  I’m sure everyone reading this has applied to postings online and never heard ANYTHING back, not even an automated confirmation.

When seeking a job, co-op, or internship opportunity, what you really need is a fair review of your credentials. UConn Engineering students – and UConn students in general, for that matter – are pretty hot stuff. You’ve worked hard in the past to just get into UConn, and do great work once you get here. But that won’t help if no one ever sees your resume. You’re stuck in the digital “applicant pile.”

Employers hire referrals whenever possible…friends-of-friends, professional contacts, and the like. The upcoming Engineering Career Fairs are the best chance you’ll have to become an actual person for the top technical employers who will be in attendance. It is your big chance to look the representatives in the eye, to shake their hands, and explain your interest in their opportunities. It is the ideal way to get your resume out of the “applicant pile” and into the “referral folder” of top candidates they’ve already met in some way.

Collect business cards and email follow-up notes to the employers after the fair, and you will continue to cultivate that “referral” status. Yes, you may still have to submit your materials through their web portals, but now you’ll have a contact, and insider on your side to make sure they truly consider your application. And that will make all the difference in the world.

To see who’s coming to Engineering Career Fairs, visit http://engr.uconn.edu/careerfairsearch/ and sort through the listings. Visit the Center for Career Development between 10 and 5 each weekday for a resume review. Attend a career fair prep workshop and be sure to review this primer.

I’ll see you at the fairs.

By John Bau
John Bau Career Consultant, School of Engineering John Bau