I was recently at a career information session held by a top electronics company. As a psychology major, I felt more than a little out of place: the information session was for commerce, engineering, and computer science students only.
Everybody was wearing a suit, had 20 copies of their resume filed neatly in a portfolio, and here I was, wearing my favorite bright blue heels, no makeup, no resume, and completely intimidated!! I had actually only stopped by to see a friend of mine who graduated two years ago and was now part of the company’s campus recruitment team…
But then they brought in the free pizza…
so I decided to stay.
The presentations were really informative, and I was surprised to see that they had positions for non-technical people like me. Interpersonal skills like managing teams, and working with people are two things that i have had a lot of practice in during my undergrad, especially in group projects! What really caught my eye was the emphasis they put on choosing your career goals – I don’t want to be stuck in one mindless job forever, do you?
After the informative presentations, there was time to mill around and ask questions to the representatives from different fields. All of a sudden the room was buzzing: the super eager busy (*cough business students cough*) bees flew around, trying to ask the best questions, pushing their resumes on the representatives left, right and centre, crowds closing in just to get closed to Recruiter X with their wide smiles refracting light… I guess that’s what they mean by “networking opportunity!?”
Everybody was wearing a suit, had 20 copies of their resume filed neatly in a portfolio, and here I was, wearing my favorite bright blue heels, no makeup, no resume, and completely intimidated!
Like the cool cucumber I usually am, I hung back and chatted to my friend. As the room emptied, I got into a great conversation with my friend and his coworker about StudentEvents (Always a promoter!) and my past year abroad. By sticking around and casually talking to the recruiters, I showed them my personality, more than just my bubbly smile and my resume’s font.
I was surprised to see that they had positions for non-technical people like me.
With that said, my take home message to you is this: get out there! Here’s 5 other tips for networking success this year, regardless of your major.
1. Your career services centre is there to help. That night alone, there were 3 company information sessions at my school.
2. Always go to information meetings – it can put you on a recruiter’s radar and give you a chance to learn about all the positions available (more than the ones they list online).
3. When you’re there, keep your cool and be yourself – you are much more interesting to talk to than the piece of paper with your credentials on it (but do bring a resume!!)
4. Finally, get out there and meet new people. The kinds of students who go to career events are going places. One casual conversation with a recruiter about something you have in common could lead to an interview! You never know.
5. But don’t forget to dress to impress and you’ll always be ready to crash a free pizza party!