6 tips to land a summer internship at the Fall Career & Internship Fair

recruiter and student talking at a career fair among a crowd of other people

As students return to campus, many Badgers come bearing new experiences from summer internships and jobs from all over the globe. Internships are an invaluable opportunity to get real-world experience in your field of study. Believe it or not, it’s never too early to think about internships for summer 2020.

On Tuesday, September 17, 4-8pm at the Kohl Center, students can connect with employers at the Fall Career & Internship Fair. All UW students are welcomed, regardless of major, degree level, or college. All you need is a student ID to enter.

Career fairs can be intimidating based on the number of employers and students present, so think about these tips to help you have a smooth experience and land that dream internship.

Be prepared

Navigating the fair is much easier if you come ready with a game plan. Download the Fairs App to see what employers are coming and their available positions. If you are curious about a company, scan their website for more information on their internship or early career program. Not only will this help you better understand the companies, but it will also help you show genuine interest to the recruiters. The Fairs App allows you to favorite your desired companies and easily locate them with the Kohl Center map.

Review your resume

close-up of a UW notebook held by a person with a suit coat on
Tailor your resume to the type of position that interests you.

After you have done your research, tailor your resume to the type of position that interests you. Bullet points on past experiences, relevant or not, should translate into skills that could be used at future employment opportunities. For example, if you had past experience as a server, mention your skills in customer service, relationship building, and problem-solving.

If you have any questions about your resume or would like a professional to review it, consider going to the SuccessWorks Career Fair Prep Night on September 16, 6-7:30pm, at the Pyle Center. Company representatives, career advisors, and Badger alums will be present to help you work through your resume and give you recruiting tips.

Bring the essentials and dress comfortably

On the day of the fair, come prepared with plenty of resumes, a pen, and a folder to store company handouts in. When you get your name tag, wear it on your right side so that recruiters can see your name when they shake your hand.

The dress code at the fair is generally business casual so wear clothes that are professional but still comfortable. This will help you look and feel your best!

Be confident and personable

After scanning the fair for your top employers, collect yourself, go over your elevator pitch one last time, and walk up to a recruiter with a smile. If you are feeling extra nervous, don’t start with your number one employer. Give yourself time to shake off your initial nerves. Start interactions with a firm handshake and introduce yourself by sharing your major, year in school, and why you are interested in a position at their company.

During the conversation, talk about your academic and extracurricular experiences that make you a good candidate for the job. Whenever possible, ask questions about the position, the company, and the recruiters. Creating a personal connection can help you stand out from the stack of resumes.

Ask for business cards and follow-up

As the conversation concludes, end it by asking the recruiters for their business cards so that you can follow up with a thank-you note or email. A simple thank-you will show the recruiter that you have a genuine interest in the position. Having this connection will also come in handy if you have specific questions about the recruiting process.

Stay true to yourself!

Even though the fair can be intimidating, nothing will make it easier than being yourself. Don’t be afraid to show your personality in a respectable manner and make an impact with your authenticity. Be proud of your accomplishments and strive for something great – you can do it!

Once you land an internship, remember that UW–Madison Summer Term can help you get credit for your experience. Get more information on summer internships.

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