Hey everyone! Career fair and interview season at the University of Illinois is coming up, so we wanted to give you all some tips and tricks to ace the career fair and your interview, along with a timeline describing the internship process.
Tips & Tricks
1. Keep it at one page — Since recruiters skim resumes during the career fair, it is better to make them concise and to the point to make that first impression.
2. Use action verbs — Using strong verbs when describing your experiences to keep it short yet meaningful.
3. Get your resume reviewed — WCS offers drop-in resume reviews during our office hours (1–4 pm everyday at Siebel 1318), so be sure to come in if you want a fresh pair of eyes to look at your resume! A couple of other places on campus that also do resume reviews include Engineering Career Services (ECS) and The Career Center.
1. Do tons of research — Handshake has a list of all the companies that come to every career fair. If any company interests you, check out their website for what they do, their company culture, values, and what internship positions they’re hiring. This will not only help you have an idea of which companies’ booths to attend, but will also help you ask better questions to recruiters based on the information you already know.
2. Know your resume — Recruiters will most likely ask you to further expand on a project or experience in your resume, so make sure that you can speak to each and every one of them in more detail!
3. Bring copies of your resume — Bring enough copies plus some extras. It helps to bring them in a folder to keep them more organized.
4. Practice your elevator pitch — An elevator pitch is a short, thirty second to one minute speech that you will likely give recruiters during the career fair. It is a brief summary of where you want to go in your career, plus a few projects or experiences that are relevant. Feel free to come into the WCS office during office hours to practice!
5. Apply online beforehand — Many companies will probably ask you to apply online through Handshake or their website. If you have a specific job posting in mind for a company, apply online before the career fair to save some time.
1. Practice, Practice, Practice! — If you have a behavioral interview, there are some great questions online that you can practice with. For technical interviews, Cracking the Coding Interview: 189 Programming Questions and Solutions allows you to brush up on fundamental CS concepts and gives a wide variety of problems. WCS also has mock behavioral and technical interviews that you can sign up for if you want more practice! You can sign up here.
2. Process the question first — There’s nothing wrong with asking your interviewer to repeat the question or clarify some part of the question, especially since interviewers usually ask vague questions! Also, take a few seconds to really make sure you understand the question before answering.
3. Prepare good questions — This is an awesome opportunity to interview your interviewers, and ask them questions to determine whether they are a good fit for what you want in a company and role.
4. Take a deep breath — You got this! Be confident, be yourself, and do your best.
5. Thank the interviewer — Send an email to your interviewers the day of thanking them for their time. If you do not have your interviewers’ emails, one option is to ask your recruiter to forward them the message.
Timeline of Recruiting Process
9/10–9/11: Engineering Fall 2019 Career Fair
9/10–9/20: On-Campus Interviews
7–10 days after: Expect a response from the company’s recruiter
2 weeks — a month after: If you received the offer, congratulations! There will be a decision deadline that is around this timeframe, but this will be specified in the offer letter.
May or June: Begin your internship!
Good luck to everyone with their job search this year, and we hope that these tips and tricks help you better understand what to expect during the career fair!
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