Posted by Jennifer Creamer
Information session season is upon us. Throughout the year, employers send representatives to campus to tell you about their organization and what career opportunities they offer. Here are some tips to help you get the most out of these information sessions.
1. They are for you! Regardless of your class or major, information sessions are a fantastic way to learn about a company or an industry. You don’t have to know all about an organization in order to attend an information session. In fact, the whole point of the visit is for employers to introduce themselves to you and get you excited about their organization.
2. Dress Appropriately. Generally speaking, you should wear professional attire (what you would wear to an interview) to information sessions. This is an opportunity to meet and make an impression on an employer. You want that impression to be a positive one. Most banks, consulting firms, law firms and government organizations will expect you to dress professionally. There are times when it is appropriate to “dress down” for an information session. For instance, some employers in the fashion industry expect you to dress in a way that demonstrates your sense of fashion. And a professional top paired with slacks or a skirt may be appropriate for some non-profit or volunteer organizations. But these are rare exceptions. For the most part, you should dress professionally when you go to an information session.
3. Prepare. This is not a direct contradiction to Tip # 1. A little preparation can make you stand out in a positive way for the employer. If you know a little bit about the organization going in, you may find it easier to follow the recruiter’s presentation. Also, you may be able to ask more informed questions. Check out the employer’s Web site. Many employers will have a section on internships or college recruiting. Look at it. You don’t have to commit the information to memory but you should at least be familiar with programs that interest you. Taking a quick glance at their Web site will help you to avoid asking “basic” questions, such as “Do you have any internship opportunities?” You can usually find that information on the company’s Web site or on Hoya Career Connection, our jobs and internships database. A better question might be, “Aside from your Summer Young Leaders program, are there other opportunities available for sophomores in your organization?”
4. Take Notes and Ask Questions. Don’t expect to remember everything you hear. Write down the presenter’s name, details about qualifications, deadlines, and any questions that you think of as the recruiter is presenting. When given the opportunity to ask questions, don’t hesitate. Chances are good someone else is wondering the same thing you are.
5. Get Contact Details. It is totally appropriate to ask the representative for his or her business card. However, if they are unwilling or unable to provide you with their contact information, don’t take it as a personal affront. They may have good reasons for not sharing their contact information. For instance, they may be inundated with e-mails from eager applicants. However, if you get an e-mail address and you are interested in the organization, it is a good idea to send a note of appreciation and express your interest within a day of the information session.