Career fairs are one of those things that no one looks forward to attending but are often extremely helpful in the job search process. It’s a chance to connect with recruiters from several businesses in a short amount of time. You are able to get your resume directly into the hands of the hiring team, and you have a chance to share a quick highlight about who you are and why they should consider your materials.
The University of Denver prides itself on deep connections across the Denver metro, Colorado and across the world. When we host a career fair, company representatives are often flying into Denver to attend the event. How can you maximize your quick connection with them? Here is a list of some suggestions to elevate your career fair opportunities:
Before the event:
Research who will be attending
When you sign up for a career fair on Pioneer Career Online, you will have access to a list of companies who will be attending with their open positions. Career Fairs at the University of Denver can range from 20-200 employees from Colorado and out-of-state. From the master list, you can prioritize which companies you want to approach based on your interest. That way you can make sure that you will be able to talk to your top choice companies in case you run out of time at the fair.
Resume (10-20 copies), business cards (if you have one) in a portfolio/ folder or a notepad. (Tips to make your resume stands out). Practice your elevator pitch or a 20-30 second introduction of yourself. Think about several reasons why you would add value to the companies, which make you different from other candidates. Recall all of your accomplishments in the past that have formed your leadership, teamwork and other skills. Don’t be afraid to ask Career Advisor and Peers at DU, your friends, or parents for some suggestions.
Dress professionally comfortable
Everybody knows that you need to dress for success at a career fair to make a good first impression with potential employers. However, wearing something professionally comfortable will help you maximize your confidence. Make sure you choose a super comfortable pair of shoes because you may have to walk around and stand on your feet for several hours to network with people.
Also, a light bag/handbag is highly recommended. You want to be able to easily move around among hundreds of people at the event and free your hands for handshakes. Also, save some room for companies’ flyers/card/information in your handbag/briefcase.
Be confident, make a positive impression and smile
When talking to the employers, be confident, and show them your authentic self and how awesome you are. Don’t forget to smile, make eye contact and give a firm handshake. Concisely explain to the employers why you are a good fit for their company, but don’t speak too fast. You want to be both considerate to other students waiting in the line and stay calm explaining your interest at the same time.
Hand your resume
Sometimes students are very into a conversation with employers and leave the table without handing over their well-crafted resume to the employers. One tip is while you are introducing yourself, take your resume out, hand it to the employer and point out relevant experiences as you are talking about them. That would draw the employer’s attention and help your resume stand out in the employer’s mind.
Ask for contact and take note
Keep track of your conversations with employers. A tip to help you recall the conversation later is to ask the employers for a business card and put some notes about what you discussed with them right after you leave the table.
After the fair:
Within 1-2 days after the fair, follow up with the employers that you met with a thank you note. However, don’t copy paste the email/note. Personalizing the message with the note you took during the fair will give employers a good impression about you. Also. connect with them on LinkedIn (with a customized message) to learn more about other opportunities in the future. However, before doing that, you need to polish your profile first. (Tips to build a LinkedIn Profile)
There are a lot of students attending career fairs at DU and it may seem not easy to make yourself stand out. However, as long as you prepare well, do research in advance, be confident, and follow up thoroughly, you are already ahead of the game. Don’t forget to register for the Just in time career & internship fair on PCO to practice these tips.
Many of you will be starting jobs this June after school end. People who have been in their careers for years always have some advice they wish they had gotten when they were starting out. Below are some advice and tips to help you make the most of the experience and set yourself up for success in the first 90 days on the job.
Be a learner, not a knower.
Take the time to understand your team, the culture, goals and overall vibe of your new workplace. As a current student or recent graduate, you are often still in “student mode” when starting a new role. This can be an incredible asset. By adopting a beginner’s mindset – in other words, remaining both humble and curious – you can learn so much from your new coworkers. Keep a small journal with you to record key observations about the organization, your role, and your own career development. And make sure to ask questions! Asking questions demonstrates engagement in your job and organization, not ignorance or lack of skills.
While you’re still learning, be sure to ask yourself: How do I like to learn? How do I like to receive feedback? Be sure to ask for feedback with you are starting out. If you are meeting expectations, keep up the good work! If you are not, it is good to be aware early on so you can adjust your work and request additional guidance. You will likely be given many opportunities to learn new skills and concepts. Understanding what you need and how you need it early on in will make learning curves and performance reviews much easier to tackle.
Get to know your manager.
Building relationships within your organization goes beyond scheduling lunches with your coworkers and attending as many meetings as you can. Be sure to intentionally spend time getting to know your manager both as a person and a professional. Set up meetings with them early on to learn about any, or all, of these topics:
Their expectations for you;
Their goals, both for your role and for the department or organization;
How they prefer to give and receive feedback;
Communication style and preferences (Would they rather you stop by, call them, or email them with questions? Should questions be limited to 1:1 meetings, or can they be asked any time?);
How they define success and how they respond to setbacks.
Understand communication styles
Learn who doesn’t mind interruptions or who prefers to receive an email, phone call or text. You’ll receive a response in a timelier manner when you know your team’s preferred style. As the newest member of your team, it can be overwhelming as you navigate your job, relationships, and supervisors. Take the time to be thoughtful and open to learning as much as you can while it is still acceptable to call yourself the “newbie” on the team!
Whether you are new to the field or have been working this type of job for a while, networking is so important. Though this can be an intimidating subject for students, it’s a great way to practice communication skills and begin picking up cultural norms by talking to a wide variety of people at the organization. You never know, you may end up with a mentor or two!
Find a mentor
Your mentor does not have to be your supervisor. In fact, it may be better to find a different mentor that you can go to for advice when you have to have tough conversations with co-workers of your supervisor. This person may be within your organization or may be someone you met while networking. Mentors are a good way to get outside advice and help you keep moving forward in your career.
And while we’re on the topic of mentors, why limit yourself to just one? The more people you can turn to for advice – or to simply bounce an idea off of – the better! When it comes to advancing your career, the people you surround yourself with and the people you turn to for support are crucial to your success.
Nobody is perfect. We all inevitably make mistakes in our careers at some point. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take risks. In fact, studies have shown that strategically-planned risks can be a key to your success in the business world (and probably other sectors as well). Stay confident, know your self-worth, and forgive yourself if and when you make mistakes. As long as you are learning from your mistakes, they are still worth it. Just view your missteps as opportunities for improvement and keep moving forward in your career journey.
Track your accomplishments
Tracking your accomplishments on-the-job is great advice, regardless of what stage you’re in with your career. It is recommended that you do this in real time, as they happen. Write them down, update your resume/CV, or add them to your LinkedIn profile so you don’t forget them. Even better: consider creating your own website, complete with a bio, resume/CV, and career accomplishments. Not only will it look good in future job interviews when you are able to easily list your accomplishments at previous jobs, but it will also boost your confidence and can even help you negotiate that pay raise we mentioned above.
Remember, your stellar performance in the interview got you the job; the spotlight isn’t on you in the same way when you are working. Invite your teammates and coworkers from other departments out to coffee or lunch and listen to their stories. This can help you to learn more about the organization’s culture, give you direction and ideas about your career, or leverage resources through your internal network later on.
We hope this helps you prepare for your new role! Seniors: don’t forget, Career & Professional Development is here to support you up to one year after graduation. If you want to discuss success on the job further, we are happy to help!
[Author’s note: Parts of this blog were originally published in ” Your First 90 Days on the Job- From Interview to Success “- October, 2017 by Mary Michael Hawkins, “Tips for Success on the Job!”- May, 2018 by Kimberly English and ” Just Starting Your Career? 6 Expert Tips”- May, 2017 by Gloria Martinez has been updated for accuracy and clarity]
The end of spring quarter can be very stressful with figuring out plans after graduation or planning your summer, and finals, and not to mention the beautiful summer weather distracting us all from the work we need to do. Graduate school can come with challenges not faced in undergrad or in the workplace. There is a unique balance of school, work, family, and friends during this time. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to managing stress, but here are five tips to get through these last few weeks of the school year.
You cannot fill from an empty cup. In order to help your family, classmates, and get your work done you need to make sure you are taking care of yourself. This can include mental and physical health. Some simple ways to improve your self-care is getting enough sleep, eating healthy foods, and being active at least three times a week. Making time for yourself is not a waste, it will help you be more energized and focused for the work you need to do.
Much of the work in grad school is based on far off deadlines for big projects. In order to help keep you on track and motivated set smaller deadlines for more manageable pieces of those projects. Make sure to check off your progress along the way and celebrate the little milestones. This will help keep you motivated when the other responsibilities in life need attention.
Grad school is tough work and it is important to have a support group around you. These can be family members, friends, classmates, co-workers, or mentors. This network can not only provide some comfort and motivation but also may be able to provide resources needed to complete a project.
Make sure to spend quality time with people that fulfills you. This helps lower your stress levels and allows you to be more focused when going back to work. There are many resources listed below if you need to find a group.
Engage in hobbies
Hobbies are a great way to engage your mind and/or body in activities that are creative and endorphin releasing. This can be reading a book for pleasure, journaling, playing a sport, or getting outside.
Hobbies are a part of on-going self-care and if built into your schedule can help balance the stresses that arise with unforeseen setbacks.
Breathing can help us regulate our body and calm down when stressed. Engaging in focused breathing, meditation, or other mindfulness activities helps ground us, create self-awareness, and focus. It also has positive long-term effects.
However you work to manage your stress, make sure to be present, enjoy it, and set aside the pressures of grad school for a moment. You will get through this and will succeed!
Below are some resources here at DU to help you with this management and if you are in crisis:
Campus Resources for Students
The Graduate Student Government (GSG) puts on programming for grad students and can also connect you to other grad students on the DU campus.
The Health & Counseling Center (HCC) provides many medical and mental health services, including crisis and after-hours support. All DU students have access to crisis services at the HCC, regardless of insurance coverage (phone: 303-871-2205; Ritchie Center, 2240 E. Buchtel Blvd., Suite 3N).
Student Outreach & Support is a University resource where trained staff members ensure that students are connected to appropriate campus resources, have a plan of action to meet their goals, and learn how to navigate challenging situations. The Student Support Pathway can be activated by completing a report at http://carereport.du.edu or by calling 303-871-2400 to consult.
The Office of Diversity and Inclusion provides leadership, guidance and resources in support of the University’s commitment to building a more diverse and inclusive institution. To contact the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, please email email@example.com.
Campus Resources for Employees
Employee Assistance Program: Benefited DU employees are eligible for the EAP, which offers up to six counseling sessions each fiscal year. These individual sessions are available at no cost. Call 303-871-2205 and follow the prompts for an after-hours counselor on call.
The Career Achievement milestones are you guideposts to professional success during your time at DU!
Taking time to work on your professional goals throughout your academic career, rather than waiting until graduation, will ensure that you are well prepared for achieving your post-graduation goals. Research shows that students that engage with career development during their time in college have better jobs and salaries at graduation than their peers that did not engage with career development as a student.
Undergraduate students – complete a minimum of one milestone during each year of your student experience.
Graduate students – pace these milestones evenly throughout your degree program.
MILESTONE 1: MAP YOUR PATH
Identify skills, strengths and interests to complete a resume or CV. Read more…
MILESTONE 2: BUILD YOUR CONNECTIONS
Develop your OneDU community to guide professional success. Read more…
MILESTONE 3: GAIN EXPERIENCES
Fulfill professional experiences that align with your career goals. Read more…
MILESTONE 4: LAUNCH YOUR FUTURE
Master your DU story to ace any interview and prepare for success as a new professional. Read more…
Click on the links above to learn more about each milestone as well as to learn the tools and programs available to help!
Finding Jobs—Naturally, look at college/university websites as well as the website of your professional associations. Other options include higheredjobs.com, chroniclevitae.com and careers.insidehighered.com.
Do Your Research– Check-out the department as well as the faculty and read their publications. This will make it easier for you to demonstrate your match with the position.
Customize your CV and cover letter to the position— In a CV for a research institution you will have a different focus than when you are writing a CV for a teaching institution.
Develop a Tracking System—You will likely be applying to several institutions with different deadlines and application requirements so it will be helpful to develop a system such as an Excel spreadsheet to keep organized.
Get Ready for an Interview—Meet with a career advisor to practice the variety of questions that come up during the academic interview by going to du.edu/pioneercareers (see Appointments) or call 303.871.2150.
Visit the DU Writing Center—You will likely be asked to submit a Personal Statement or an autobiography as part of your application packet. Visit the Writing Center at Anderson Academic Commons or contact them at du.edu/writing/writingcenter for a consultation.
Have a Plan B–If the academic positions you have applied to do not work out, consider doing a Post-Doc. This will give you a chance to build your CV and develop new contacts.
After a Winter Orientation in University College, a new graduate student reached out to me, her career advisor, for help in preparing for an interview. We met and discussed the position she would be interviewing for, an International Compliance position at a medical device company. Going through the job description it was clear to me that she was intimately familiar with what the company was looking for and had a wealth of valuable and relevant experience. What the student needed was affirmation that her preparation was valid. We spent the entirety of a single 1-hour appointment going through practice questions, preparation techniques and common interview practices. After our appointment, I received the following email:
All went very well today thank you Andrew!
The interviewer was happy to let the conversation flow between us so when there was an appropriate opportunity to share samples of my work, I did so. And she loved it!
So it was all pretty positive but as can be expected, there are more candidates for her to see before she decides who to invite for the next round of interviews with the Paragon 28 executives.
I’ll find out by the end of next week if I’m called back again so I’ll be sure to let you know what happens.
A few days later, I received this email…
Hope you’ve had a great start to your week!
You’ll be pleased to know I made it to the second round with Paragon 28 and I’ve been invited for 2 interviews on Thursday morning -first one interview with their Director of HR and then with their CTO.
Both interviews are quite short- 30 minutes each so I’d appreciate it if you could give some pointers on the questions they may ask. If you prefer to chat I can call you either later this afternoon or any time on Wednesday.
I connected with the student again and we discussed preparing for 2nd round interviews, which involved a bit more detailed preparation. We strategized questions that she might receive, including behavioral based questions (BBIs) that require candidates to share examples and tell longer stories about their experiences. The student went into this interview feeling confident and well prepared, which led to this final email…
Great news- I was offered and accepted the International Compliance Officer position with Paragon 28!
Thank you for your advice on preparing for the interviews Andrew, it was invaluable for me because after we met, I was interviewed by 4 more people!
So could this be a record; I commenced my class with DU on 7th January and after 4 rounds of interviews I was offered a job within 3 weeks??!!
Speak soon and best regards
While this is a great milestone success story, the overall takeaway should be that preparation for interviews is crucial. You have the advantage of career advising professionals here at DU who are dedicated to helping you achieve success, so make sure you are monitoring interviewing events in Pioneer Careers and scheduling appointments with your career advisor. An added benefit: you also have access to a virtual interviewing tool called BigInterview. Creating an account is simple and you will have access to interview preparation materials, practice questions, and response recording software so that you can record your responses and send them to a friend (or your career advisor). If you have any questions about interview preparation, practice, or support here at DU please contact Career & Professional Development.
The job search process can be exhausting. Everything from updating your resume to negotiating your salary takes work, and that is all before the job starts! There can be even more barriers from women as they enter male dominated fields or push against the gender pay gap. There can be even more barriers for individuals with intersecting identities that are often disadvantaged in our society. This post focuses on resources for women but I think it can be helpful to anyone who is looking for a job, especially when they may have a tough road ahead. As I have gone through my own job search I find that I am always working to educate myself, advocate for myself, and connect to other women around me. Below are some tips, resources, and encouragement as you prepare for, engage in, or wrap up a change in your career.
KNOW YOUR WORTH:
The first part of any job search is knowing your worth. This means thinking about what skills and experience you have, planning where you want to go, and researching what others in the field are doing and the salaries they are making. Make sure to highlight the skills and experience you have in a resume, portfolio, or cover letter. It is important to use action words, quantify your impact, and elevate how you can take that into future opportunities. Do not be afraid to talk about yourself! Another important piece of the job search is knowing where you want to go and seeking out opportunities that will help you get there. There are sites out there such as inhersight.com which helps you evaluate companies as well as researching what people in those positions are making. Ladiesgetpaid.com also offers some resources such as their gender pay gap guide to help you at this stage.
CREATE YOUR BRAND:
The next step to your job search is creating your brand. This is how you can highlight job experience, academic skills, passions, personality, and the things you value for yourself and the work you do. This brand can come through in many different ways such as resumes, portfolios, cover letters, LinkedIn, twitter, other social media platforms, a website, or even in your elevator pitch and interview! Ladies Get Paid and Squarespace teamed up to help women get started or improve their brand. You can access this helpful guide and webinar here.
ADVOCATE FOR YOURSELF:
While it is always great to have a boss or mentor that can be a champion for you, we often have to advocate for ourselves to get the job, pay, or benefits that we want in a career. Luckily, there are many websites out there to help you with this process! Places such as fairygodboss.com and careercontessa.com provide lots of resources. Also, the career and professional development office at DU has advisors ready to meet with you and give you tips on how to present your best self!
CREATE A COMMUNITY OF OTHER WOMEN:
Having a support system as you go through this process is important. Whether that is classmates, mentors, or an online community it is important you are not alone and not the first to go through this. Below are links to some online, women focused, career websites that may be helpful to you!
Throughout this process there will be little wins, setbacks, possibly rejections, and hopefully big accomplishments! It is important to celebrate all the milestones to help keep the motivation up. Celebrate with your community or take time to focus on yourself. This can be a long process but in the end it will pay off!
That’s right! The Career Closet made its debut midway through Winter quarter and remains open 3 times per-week throughout Spring quarter (2019). Adapted from the event, The Professional Attire Fair, the Career Closet was created with the intention of providing DU students access to both business casual and business professional clothing for their upcoming interviews, internships, and jobs as these forms of clothing are costly and take a lot of time and money to obtain.
How does the Career Closet work?
The Career Closet is open in The Hub on:
Mondays from 2pm-4pm
Wednesdays from 4pm-6pm
Fridays from 10am-12pm
Feel free to stop by The Hub anytime during these hours (no appointment necessary). When you first enter the main door of The Hub, look for this sign and enter the door to the left.
Then, you will be greeted by one of our amazing Peer Advisors who will assist you in picking out up to 3 FREE items of professional clothing.
Want to donate to the Career Closet?
We greatly appreciate any gently used business casual or business professional clothing donations (accessories and shoes included). Feel free to drop off donations during the hours the Career Closet is open or email firstname.lastname@example.org to coordinate the exchange of these items.
We hope you’ll check out this new resource available to all DU students! If you have any questions please email email@example.com .
Spring quarter has arrived at the University of Denver; we’ve made it to the home stretch of the academic year! Whether you have set your summer plans or are still deciding what life might look like in the next few months, there is still time to seek out internships, research projects, and job opportunities. Here are a few tips to start the spring quarter out strong and invest in your career development!
Connect with alumni and friends of DUto explore career paths and summer opportunities. There are a number of exciting opportunities to learn from and connect with our alumni community this spring quarter, whether you are an undergraduate or graduate student. If you’re interested in the outdoors, are exploring careers in business, or curious about the health & wellness fields, there are some great alumni and friends who are excited to meet you!
Spring-clean your resume or CV. Have you taken on a leadership position this year, or started a new research project? Now is a great time to update your resume to reflect the great work you’ve done this year, even if you aren’t in the job or internship hunt. Feel free to connect with our Peer Advisors, or meet with a Career Advisor to update your resume!
Secured an internship but need funding? Be sure to get your application in for the Summer Internship Award Program! Each year, Career & Professional Development awards stipends to students from a number of different majors who are pursuing unpaid internships across the country. You can learn more about our award program here; the application deadline is April 19.
Still seeking an internship or job? Connect with our Career Advisors and consider attending one of our two career fairs this spring! Careers with a Cause, to be held on April 18, is a great fair for students interested in healthcare, government, nonprofits, or sustainability. Our Just in Time Career & Internship Fair features employers from a number of industries, and will take place on May 9. Both fairs serve as awesome opportunities for graduate students and alumni to connect with employers as well.
Refresh your wardrobe with the Career Closet! Did you know that Career & Professional Development recently launched its Career Closet thanks to our Graduate Fellow, Chloe Theobald? You can find it in the Hub, Room 106B; drop-in hours are hosted periodically throughout the quarter and appointments are available by request.
Thinking about graduate school applications? Letters of recommendation are such a crucial part of the admissions process, and deadlines can come quickly in the fall, spring, or summer. You might want to reach out to your recommenders before leaving campus; this is especially important if you are graduating this spring or summer. Take your professors out for coffee or set up a meeting during their office hours to discuss your interests and make that ask!
Take time to slow down and reflect. Spring quarter can be a busy time for our campus community, but taking a few minutes to stop and reflect can lead to great results as you map your career path. Consider your values, interests, and skills; how might they intersect to build a meaningful career? Ask yourself: What are you most enthusiastic about, and what things in your life provide you with the deepest sense of fulfillment? What would you say is your proudest accomplishment this year?
Have a wonderful spring quarter and know that Career & Professional Development is happy to support you with each of these seven tips! Let’s go for a walk and do some vocational reflection.
Among all of Denver’s top industries, the IT-Software was the fastest growing industry between 2012 and 2017 with a growth rate of over 32%. Denver is also considered a strong and growing technology community, representing (along with Boulder) 45% of the total IT-software employment in the region.
Colorado is also home to the Colorado Technology Association, whose mission is to foster innovation and positive growth within the technology industry, and more specifically the IT-Software industry.
With over 5,000 companies in the Metro Denver region with an average wage of $110,160, do not miss out on a career in this vibrant and growing industry!