Internship, job fairs come to Convo

By Hailey Kurth

The Convocation Center will be turned into a place of competition Tuesday and Wednesday as NIU students fight for the attention of each employer during various fairs.

An internship fair will run from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday, and a full-time job fair will run from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday. Both will be held in the Convocation Center arena. The fairs are free for NIU students to attend, though alumni must pay $5 and non-students $10 to enter the job fair.


Brandon Lagana, director of Marketing and Information Resource Management, said students should dress in professional wear to the fairs. Sometimes employers can’t get past the fact that students are wearing jeans, Lagana said.

“The first impression effect is something that students do all the time: You make a quick decision about someone based on what they’re wearing,” Lagana said. “And employers are doing the same thing.”

If students go to the Huskies Get Hired system on the Career Services website, they can see what employers will be at the fairs and what positions the companies are looking to fill, Lagana said. After deciding which employer they want to talk to, students can personalize their resumes for their desired position in a company. Students can go to Career Resource Center in Campus Life Building Room 235 to get help with their resumes.

A good way for students to be remembered positively is to prepare an “elevator speech,” Lagana said, which should be 30 seconds or less and gives the employer a sense of what the student can offer to the employer.

“You want it to be something that conveys a sense that you know about the company, that you’ve done some research,” Lagana said. “The part that’s important, too, is to tell your story.”

After deciding on which employers to talk to, students should go to the companies’ websites to research. Lagana said if students don’t have any questions to ask the employers or input to add about the company, the students could come off as being desperate for any interview or job.

“By asking good questions that are specific to the job, specific to that company and specific to your role and how that would be with the company, it really shows that you’re thinking about that deeper level,” Lagana said.


While at the fair, students should spend their time wisely. Lagana said students should read the situation to decide how much time is spent at a table; some employers have time to talk, but some will only have time to take a resume.

“Ten minutes of, ‘I’m cornering you, telling you how great I am,’ and the employer is like, ‘I have a line of 500 people,'” Lagana said. “It’s going to be different for each person.”

Lagana said if students get to the fairs early, there will be less chance of a line, allowing employers to ask questions about the student’s classes and have more in-depth conversations.

Joyce Keller, associate director for Career Counseling and Internships, said employers want to see candidates who are focused upon career success, so students should plan to walk around independently instead of with friends.

Lagana said Career Services offers an observation tour that many freshmen, sophomore and juniors take advantage of. Students can sign up for this at the registration area.

“This is incredibly valuable because we offer an opportunity for students to meet with a member of the career services staff, to go up to the observation box and to be able to see what the fair is all about from a behind-the-scenes look early,” Lagana said.


Keller said students should email thank you notes to employers immediately after attending the career fair. It is a great opportunity for students to restate their interest in the job and include additional information about their qualifications, Keller said.

Lagana said he recently heard a story from a company that attended a job fair with only one position to fill. The company received 500 resumes, but only received three thank you’s.

“Which three do you think the employer decided to interview?” Lagana said.

Keller said students should promptly complete any application procedures that the employer has told them about, which may include completing an online application on the company’s website.

Lagana said students can also upload their resumes in the Huskies Get Hired system on the Career Services website. After doing that, employers can look at students resumes and students can send their resumes to employers, Lagana said.