Similar to high-schoolers narrowing down a list of potential colleges, college students must choose from thousands of potential companies to start off their careers. Luckily, the Career Development Center presents plenty of opportunities for students to learn more about companies to find their ideal employer and ideal job.
Career Fairs – The opportunity students are most aware of are the two annual Career Fairs and the Life Sciences Career Fair. During these fairs, there are hundreds of recruiters to meet with who are looking to hire WPI students. This gives students a chance to ask questions about the company and to learn more about open positions.
Information Sessions – Company representatives often come to campus and give presentations highlighting their companies’ unique qualities. This is a chance for you to learn about a company in a more intimate setting, and it is also a way for you to express your interest in working for them by taking an extra step to meet with them.
Networking Night – The CDC often co-sponsors with campus organizations to host networking nights (e.g., Actuarial Networking Night, IEEE Networking Night, etc.). These events enable students to make connections with company representatives because of the opportunity to have personal conversations. Networking nights also don’t have the pressure of finding a job because they’re focused on establishing relationships, not recruiting.
An additional opportunity for students to gather information about a company is through an informational interview. Informational interviews are not about asking for a job, but a way to network and gather information about a particular industry or occupation. An informational interview is generally a chance to meet with a professional to learn more about their career and the company they work for. Other perks of informational interviews are that you can:
- Learn about new careers.
- Gain a better understanding of the company and the work involved in the position/field.
- Learn what skills are needed for a job.
- Make connections and network.
- Clarify your career goals.
- Ask questions to clear up any doubts you may have about the company or the field of interest.
- Acquire advice from employers who were once in your shoes.
An informational interview is something students must take initiative to set up because they are generally found through your network of friends, family, supervisors, WPI alumni, professional associations, professors, etc. Contacts can be found via LinkedIn, the business card database in the CDC lobby, the contacts tab in Career Shift (a resource in Job Finder) or through the alumni office. Informational interviews must be requested and this can be done via email or LinkedIn; a sample request is in the informational interview tipsheet at wpi.edu/+cdctipsheets.
Although it may be intimidating to reach out to a contact and ask for an informational interview, it is a great opportunity for you to get more information about a company or a position you’re pursuing to see if it’s the right fit for you. You can see if the people you meet with are people you’d enjoy working with or if their company culture is somewhere you think you’d be a good fit. Something important to note is that recruiters are as interested in getting to know you as you are in getting to know them, because they also want to know if you’d be a good fit. So take advantage of the opportunities and ask questions to gain as much information as you can!
Summer is just around the corner, so if you haven’t found an internship or full time job yet, be sure to take advantage of these opportunities to meet with employers. A schedule of information sessions can be found in Job Finder, and the CDC has plenty of resources and contacts you can reach out to! Come in for a walk-in or schedule an appointment with CDC staff for job search strategies. Good luck with your job searches and with the positions that you’ll land!
Do you have questions about the CDC, its services, or anything career related? Ask the Peer Advisors! Gianna, Omesh, Jacky, Matt, and Kayla are here to help. Every week, the peer advisors write blog posts and also submit an article to the Towers newspaper. Send suggestions and questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more insight and resources follow the CDC on our social media platforms: @CDCatWPI on Twitter and Career Development Center at WPI on Facebook.