By Ariana Chae '15
Julianne Jorgensen '15 and Jessica Oehrlein '16, selling Olin SWE gear at the conference
A group of young women from Olin journeyed to Baltimore, MD to attend the Society of Women Engineers Conference last month. In addition to the keynote talks, plenary sessions, and networking events, a significant part of the SWE conference is the career fair. According to the WE13 website, the "Career Fair brings together more than 250 companies and organizations seeking qualified, motivated female engineers for positions ranging from interns to executives for one of the largest and most diverse career events in the industry."
The career fair can be quite overwhelming - there were so many companies, so many attendees, and so little time! But it's a fantastic way to connect with companies that we might never be able to attract to our tiny campus.
Here are some tips to help other Olin students navigate large career fairs in the future, whether it's at SWE or at some other conference:
- Know which companies you want to speak to in advance, and do your research! Often they will ask you questions about where you would fit in their company, and you want to be ready to answer them in a way that will keep the conversation rolling.
-Be prepared to explain what Olin College is all about because a lot of companies have still not heard of us. Also, if you are a first year, keep in mind that not everyone is cool with the fact that first years don't receive grades for their first semester.
-Get to the career fair early and have a plan! Even if you map out where you want to go, once you start getting into conversations and waiting in line to meet representative, you most likely won't end up getting to as many places as you want.
- Be prepared to be offered an interview on the spot. Bring extra copies of your resume, both hard copies and on a flash drive.
- Manage your time. There's a lot going on in those few days. If the career fair also coincides with other panels, seminars, and talks, make sure you know where you want to be, and at what time.
-Consider the fact that you may have to wait for a long time to talk to someone from a company, and prioritize the companies you are most interested in.
- If there is time, ask people for honest feedback on your elevator speech. A great way to connect with professionals is to ask them for advice - as long as you are humble, they will be quick to see that you want to improve and it will make a good impression.
Thanks to Meg McCauley '17 and Chloe Eghtebas '15 for contributing!