In preparation for the event, I spent most of my time taking self assessments and researching the companies. I learned from last year’s Career Forum that knowing yourself and about the companies are crucial to having a successful experience. Last time, I prepared for interviews by reading books on what to talk about, but to be honest, interviewers don’t want to hear about what you read. They want to get to know "you." In order to do this, it’s important to know who you are, what you want to do, and what your goals are and be able to communicate all this to the interviewer in the limited time.
It might sound like an easy process "getting to know yourself" but evaluating oneself can be difficult. The more I asked myself deep questions, the more lost I became. I didn't really know where I wanted to work or what I really wanted to do. Thankfully, I had plenty of time to reflect on these questions and find my answers. Last tip: if interviews make you nervous, like they do me, tell yourself to keep calm and keep your composure. Focus on getting the interviewer to engage with you. All this preparation will be worth it to have a successful and memorable 3 days.
(Fordham University, BA in Accounting)
I felt unprepared for this year's Boston Career Forum so I decided to attend as a practice round. I immediately felt overwhelmed by the large number of participants. Once I got there, they were already engaged in deep conversations with employers and it made me feel even more unprepared. I thought I'd be able to meet with employers by walk-in appointments but boy, I could not be more wrong.
Most companies, especially big name companies didn't accept any walk-ins. Some companies were accepted walk-ins and were giving out numbered tickets to give candidates a chance to meet on a first come first serve basis. My takeaways from this experience was to make appointments prior to the event, know your way around the hall, be clear in what you want to say in an interview, and be confident and assertive. There will be a lot of competition around you and you shouldn't get distracted.
I am glad I attended this year as a practice because now I know what to expect and feel excited for next year.
(Ramapo College, BA in International Studies)
Applying to companies prior to the event allows employers to review your resume in advance and have a smooth and productive interview. The self-assessments helped me understand my strengths, weaknesses, my goals and vision. I felt more confident in my interviews and as a result, I received invitations for 2nd round interviews. When I had gone around to all the companies I wanted to meet, in my remaining time, I met with other companies I hadn't applied to. As a result, I was invited to a reception dinner by a company I hadn't initially applied nor knew about. Thanks to the self-assessment I had conducted, I was able to confidently speak to the interviewers and showcase myself as a strong candidate.
(Sacred Heart University, MBA)
The Career Forum is an intense battlefield for bilingual students who are seeking jobs. I was taken aback by the size of the forum and felt overwhelmed by the competition around me. I could feel my heart racing and I remember my entire body freezing up during an interview.
I realized that companies are looking for the same qualities in students where ever they may be. Before I apply to any company, I make sure to research the company’s mission and core values to see if I agree with their goals.
I feel that it's important to understand a company’s vision and corporate culture before meeting them. If the company culture and vision matches yours, it can be add to your motivation to work with them. For me, that’s the base line to finding my future with a company.
(SUNY-Stony Brook, BS in Computer Science)
This was my first time attending the Career Forum. I interviewed with 6 companies. I applied to the companies prior to the event but did not have any appointments set up in advance. Out of the 6 companies, I was invited back for a 2nd interview by one company on the very last day. Reflecting on my experience, I have listed the top 3 points that helped me get my 2nd round interview:
●Be personable. I was able to have an engaging and personable conversation with the interviewer. In other interviews, I felt like a robot, reciting an interview script. This interview was held at the booth so I felt relaxed and the interviewer didn't seem so intimidating. It was as if I was just getting to know someone.
●Be yourself. Speak using your own words. Being respectful and using "keigo" (polite Japanese form) is needed but if you use it too much, you don't sound personable nor like your own person as everyone around you is using the same jargon. I think that it shows more respect to the interviewer when you make the effort to use your own words and to show yourself. I am from Kansai so I am constantly concerned about my intonation and how to use proper keigo but as a result, I get distracted from the interview. Therefore, I decided to use my natural Kansai accent but pay extra attention to sounding polite and respectful. I felt that I was able to connect with the interviewer better and was satisfied that I was able to show my true self.
●Be excited. Job hunting is one of the most exciting milestones in our lives, like buying a car or a house. I think it's important to show that excitement during the interview because employers are looking for energized, passionate candidates. I made sure that I displayed my excitement and energy in the way that I spoke (loud and clear.)
I blanked during the interview and forgot a the company's product name, but feeling nervous is normal. But because I was conscious about the3 points above, I was able to move onto the 2nd interview.
(Texas State University-San Marcos, BA in Advertising)
I started preparing for the Career Forum in August. I had 3 appointments up and received one offer. I would compare the Career Forum to dating. I prepared questions I wanted to ask the employers because I wanted to get to know them as much as possible and see if we’d be a good match, much like going on a first date. The company I received a job offer from is the company I liked the most. They answered each of my questions in detail and they actually showed me the software program they use in the workplace. The other two companies (which I didn’t pass) didn’t give thorough responses to my questions. They only explained about the company’s service and nothing more. I don’t think we would’ve been a good match, so in the end it worked out.
If I had to give advice to those looking to attend future Career Forums, it would be to come prepared and conduct self-assessments. I know it can get busy with school to prepare for the Career Forum, but do not use that as an excuse to flake on your preparation. My peers attended the event thinking they’d be fine, but most of them didn’t get any interviews. Companies are looking for candidates who can multitask and juggling school work and job search activities is a great example.
Regarding self-assessment, think about what you want to do, what it is that you’re studying, what kind of work suits you, you might find that it’s all different! But knowing yourself and the answers to these questions will help you have a successful experience at the Career Forum.
(SUNY-New Paltz, BA)