With Seminole Futures soon approaching, many students are cowering in fear at the idea of pitching themselves to potential companies. Though I admit the event itself is quite daunting, you shouldn’t let it scare you. Florida State University has offered you the opportunity to meet with some of the biggest companies in the country, so take advantage of it! Remember, at the end of the day these recruiters are there because they are looking for potential employees. They want you to work for them, they just don’t know it yet—and I’m here to help you help them figure it out.
First things first, preparation is KEY. Here’s what you can DO to ready yourself:
- DO take a visit to the career center
The Career Center is basically “Disney World” for FSU students looking for a job.
2. DO go to a mock interview
Whether you’re a seasoned Seminole Futures veteran or a student just entering the professional arena, I promise you have something to gain from a mock interview session. The Career Center offers students the opportunity to be interviewed by trained mock interviewers that tailor the interview to the industry or occupational area the student is interested in. Experiencing a mock interview prior to Seminole Futures will both increase your confidence when talking to recruiters and offer insight regarding potential questions they may ask you during the event.
3. DO have a professional look at your resume
Your resume is more or less a list of who you are and what you’ve accomplished in paper form. That being said, make sure it represents you the way you’d like it to. The Career Center offers resume workshops where trained professionals look over and critique your resume for you. This is ESSENTIAL to your success at Seminole Futures. These recruiters are handed hundreds of resumes—make sure that yours stands out.
4. DO attend company info sessions prior to Seminole Futures
Often times these recruiters have travelled very far and have spoken to tons of students that want the same position you do. Stay relevant and consistent in your appearances in order to stand out from the crowd! Go to their informational sessions and meet and greets. Smile a lot and remember names of individuals you’ve spoken to. When the day comes for Seminole Futures, you may find out you’ve talked to four out of five of their recruiters, whereas most students didn’t get the chance to speak to one. Info sessions also offer a great opportunity to learn about a new company and broaden your knowledge on the ones you’re already interested in.
5. DO research companies ahead of time
You don’t have to know the mission statement of every company you intend to speak with, but it would be beneficial to understand a bit about what makes their company special (who they are, what they do, what diversifies them from others in their field, etc.). More often than not, companies post articles about their corporate culture, values, and employee satisfaction directly on their websites. Knowing a little bit about the company not only gives you room to comment or raise questions if conversation with a recruiter becomes dry, but it also allows you to better understand the company you intend to work for.
6. DO obtain all the necessary Business Professional materials
- Resume Paper: Don’t question it, just use it. It’s a small thing, but a crisp, sturdy resume printed on resume paper goes a long way in the eyes of recruiters. You can purchase a pack of 100 sheets for about $15 at Office Depot.
- Business Cards: Though they aren’t necessarily required, business cards are a sure-fire way to ensure that you leave a long lasting impression of potential recruiters. It also offers you the opportunity to ask for the recruiters’ business card for later use. Don’t have the money or time to print 10,000 business cards? Stop by the FSU UPS store on campus and you can print individual sheets of business cards for a fraction of the price.
- Proper Dress: I cannot stress how important it is to be dressed properly. You only get one first impression with recruiters, and a mustard stain on your tie from highschool prom is not the one you want to leave.
- Padfolio: A padfolio can be equated to the icing on the cake for your professional image. If you don’t have one, buy one. The one I have personally was only $17 and I’ve used it more times than I can remember. It’s efficient for holding flyers from recruiters, business cards, and most importantly your pristine resumes that are printed on a strong and durable resume paper.
- Linkedin: If you don’t have a Linkedin profile then make one now. Recruiters will look you up on social media accounts, and your drunk picture on Facebook from Saturday night is definitely not something you want them to see. Spend 3-4 hours really polishing your Linkedin profile so that it portrays you in a way that you’d want the business world to see you. Then, on the day of Seminole Futures, you can ask recruiters to connect with you and spare them the trouble of Facebooking you. Connecting with recruiters also helps you build a relationship with them, as well as better future and the networking opportunities.
So after you’ve completed your preparation, you find yourself at the Seminole Futures event. You’ve got your business professional dress on lock, your resumes are killing the game, and you know more about your favorite company than you do about your roommate. Now what? Just relax and focus on the more minute preparations for the day to come:
7. DO eat a good breakfast
It’s cliché and cheesy, but eating a balanced breakfast truly will make all the difference. You’ll feel accomplished, healthy, and you won’t be bothered by stomach ailments that breakfast from a fast food restaurant may induce.
8. DO take a cold shower
This is where I’ll lose some of you, but I promise it works. I’ve been taking cold showers for over a year now and they are honestly one of the greatest things you can do to prepare yourself for a busy/stressful day. All you have to do is wake up, turn the shower all the way to its coldest, and hop in. You’ll leave the shower awake, energized and ready to take on Seminole Futures.
9. DO the power stance
What is the power stance you ask? It’s a confidence exercise that will leave you positive and focused come time to talk to recruiters. Just before leaving for the event, stand in your room or bathroom with your arms in the air and legs slightly spread for five minutes. By doing this, you can trick your mind into feeling prepared. If you exude confidence through body language, you feel it in your mind.
10. DO have questions ready for recruiters
It’s not enough to hope the recruiter will carry the conversation, and even if they do, they’re very likely to ask you if you have any questions after speaking to them. When they ask this you should most definitely have some prepared. It not only shows you are genuinely interested in the company, but if you can relate the question to something the recruiter said earlier it shows that you were attentively listening while they were talking to you.
11. DO have practice companies prepared
Your first time around with recruiters may be a little shaky—that’s okay. As we’ve seen, this Seminole Futures thing takes a lot of preparation and practice. Have a list of companies that you’re slightly interested in and speak to them first so you can warm up and have a bit of practice before you speak to the ones you are genuinely interested in. You may even be surprised to find that you end up loving one of the companies you practice with.
Phew, okay. It’s all over. You’ve spoken to 12 different companies and have more recruiter business cards than you know what to do with. But you’re not quite done yet:
12. DO follow up with the recruiters
A majority of Seminole Futures is about distinguishing yourself from the competition. Sending recruiters a follow up email is by far one of the best ways to do this, and it may even be what gets you the job. Within the next 24-48 hours send them an email thanking them for their time. Be sure to reference something unique from the conversation you had with them for even more brownie points.
The actual day of Seminole Futures is Jan. 28, 2016. It will be held in the Civic Center and a list of companies attending can be found on the career center website. You might even find the company you’ll work for the rest of your life at this event—so get excited! But remember: no truly great opportunity comes without sacrifice. Go out there and show them what you can do. Best of luck to everyone!
By DYLAN PRITCHETT / Contributing Writer