Sophomore Career Fair Advice from the Archer Center

Do your research, have fun, smile, and practice.

Hello Sophomores!  Greetings from the Archer Center for Student Leadership Development (ACSLD).  I trust that you are preparing for the Career Fair to be held on Friday (9/21) and Saturday (9/22) of this month.  This is an important activity for you to engage in as a part of your leadership development.  Therefore, it is important that you strategically target the organizations that you are interested in when considering your ‘Away Experience’ through The Arch. Here are some steps to help you to create a plan-of-action so that the process doesn’t become overwhelming.


Step 1 –        Register and Research. 

Go to and register for the career fair and review the list of companies

that will be attending.


Step 2 -        Select Your Top 5.

                   From the list select at least five of the organizations that you are interested in. 


Step 3 -        Build a Profile.

Do some research on each organization.  Review their websites and look for the following:           


        1. Vision, Value, and Mission statements – you are looking to see if there is an organizational fit with you and them.
        2. Any major initiatives that they are working on – identify ways that your skills, experiences, and education will support their work.
        3. Who are their markets/customers – what insights does this provide you?
        4. What positions are available – not that you will necessarily be qualified, but this knowledge will give you some strong talking points.
        5. Who might be their competitors – this information might lead you to look at other organizations as well.


Step 4 -        Create Your Approach.

Now that you are armed with this information create an ‘opening line’.  Example, let’s say that one of my top five organizations is American Airlines.  Here is one way to approach the recruiter.  First, have a portfolio with your research on the organization, coupled with your resume.  Next, put on your best smile, approach the recruiter and shake their hand (unless there is a virus circling) and say:


“Hello my name is (fill in the blank).  After doing some on-line research I believe that there is a strong cultural fit with me a American Airlines.  I enjoyed reading about your diverse workforce and I prescribe to your belief that if we all work together we can change the world.  My major is in aeronautical engineering and I was reviewing your Engineering Co-Op opportunities and want to ask some questions for clarification.  After reviewing the positions I believe that with my experiences, education, and skills that I qualify for these opportunities and I am interested in hearing about some of the skills and experiences that you are looking for in your ideal candidate?”   


Again, your goal is to ‘kick-off’ the conversation and show how your skills, experiences, and education align with what they are looking for and need.


Step 5 -        Prepare Your Questions.

Now that your conversation is coming to a close think about some questions that will help you to continue the relationship before moving on to your next organization.  Questions like:


      • How many students do you normally recruit from Rensselaer?
      • What is the next step in the process to be considered for these opportunities?
      • Is there any additional information that you need from me to be considered for these opportunities?
      • Is there any advice that you can give me to be seen as a strong contender for these opportunities?


Step 6 -        Prepare Your Last Statement.

Before you walk away shake their hand (again, unless there is a virus of some kind circling) state your closing line.  Some examples include:


      • Many thanks for your time and I look forward to the next step in your process.
      • Thank you for your advice and input.  I look forward to speaking with an American Airlines representative soon.


Special Note -   All in all your goal is to have an organic and natural conversation with the recruiter.  Do your research, have fun, smile, and practice.  I know that you all will be successful and be sure to enjoy the process.  If you would like to practice there will be a “Pitching Corner” that you will see upon your arrival which is usually manned by the ACSLD.  Feel free to stop by on your way in for a quick practice.  You’ve got this!  ;-)


Tracy Schierenbeck, Director of the Archer Center for Student Leadership Development