Confidence, research, motivation: tips to properly prepare for the EOC

Lindsay Elliott-Foose is the Lead Career Peer Mentor at the Carnegie Mellon Career and Professional Development Center and one of the teachers for the “How To Get A Job” StuCo.

If you plan on attending the Employment Opportunities Conference (EOC) this week, you must remember four things: do research, come prepared, be confident, and just go. The EOC has some amazing opportunities and you need to shine in the crowd of 2,000 other nervous students in order to take the best advantage of them. Here are some easy ways to make the most of the EOC.

Do your research

Look at the list of attending companies on TartanTRAK. Navigate to the EOC in the “Events” tab and use the “Advanced Search and Search Agent Creation” option to search companies by position type, industry, and what type of citizenship they accept. Check what positions your target companies are offering.
There is a lot of information available about the 160+ companies attending the EOC. Take advantage of it. Check out what positions they are offering on TartanTRAK or on their own websites. You don’t necessarily need to pre-apply to these positions, but know their titles and necessary skills.

See if any of your target companies are holding information sessions. These can be great opportunities to learn more about the companies and their positions, as well as to network with the recruiters.

Go to the Career and Professional Development Center in the days before the career fair. Often there are workshops and résumé review sessions. Why not get advice from the experts?

Come prepared

Print your résumé ahead of time to avoid technical issues or long lines at the printers. Practice your elevator pitch, a 30–45 second introduction that includes your name, choice of study, and what position you are interested in. Also include one or two past experiences or current interests that relate to a specific company, and why you wanted to talk to the company.

Bring some extra paper to write notes on after you finish talking to a recruiter. Use these notes to follow-up with the recruiter, or to add relevant points to a cover letter or personal statement.

Dress professionally, but comfortably. Dress code is officially business casual, meaning you shouldn’t wear jeans or t-shirts, but you likely don’t need to wear a suit either. Be sure you’re wearing comfortable shoes and that your outfit is comfortable in the often overly-warm environment of the EOC. Avoid aggressive cologne or perfume, and it’s always a good idea to pack a toothbrush, hairbrush, and lint-roller in an EOC kit for the day.

Be confident

Recruiters come to Carnegie Mellon because the students here are some of the smartest, most talented and innovative recruits they can find. Act like it! Too often, students don’t represent their level of skill and hard work to a company. Be sure to make the most of this first impression. Don’t be shy about selling your skills and accomplishments.

Don’t be afraid to tell a company you would really like the job.

There is little space for coyness in today’s job market. Avoid being pushy, but feel free to ask if they are holding interviews on campus or asking for more contacts to network with.

Be conscious of the non-verbal cues you give. Try to avoid texting while waiting in line, stand straight and confident when speaking with recruiters, and be sure to maintain eye contact.

Just go!

With over 140 companies looking to talk with students, there is no reason to skip the EOC! Some students may get interviews and offers immediately following the fair, others can gain valuable networking contacts, and still others learn more about their own interests and possible industries to consider.