Although NC State AMA’s annual “Meet the Pros” Career Fair has come and gone, student and professional attendees alike are still basking in their successes as a result of this professional networking opportunity. 13 high-profile companies from the Triangle area attended Meet the Pros and some representatives elected to share their professional experiences on a panel. During this panel, students had the opportunity to ask their most pressing questions about internships, corporate culture, and how to find success in areas like sales and marketing. This part of Meet the Pros preceded the Career Fair and was my favorite part of the night. I had the opportunity to ask questions and make my face and name stand out to the employers. This portion of the event allowed me to lay the groundwork on which strong professional relationships can be built. I took four pages of handwritten notes during the panel and learned so much about what my career may look like following graduation!
The career fair itself was very exciting! Around 80 students attended, each one enthusiastic about the prospect of landing an awesome internship, or even a full-time job! Students were very eager to speak with representatives from some of the Triangle area’s largest and most successful companies like Cisco, SAS, and E&J Gallo Winery. Smaller companies like Reunion Marketing and GreaseCycle were also in attendance. I loved speaking to these organizations specifically because the representatives with whom I spoke were the owners and top-level executives of these small companies. The opportunity to develop relationships with executives in organizations can put you on the fast track to an internship with that company! Meet the Pros allows students to connect with organizations large and small. The diversity of companies in attendance benefits students in that those looking for positions at a small firm have the opportunity to speak with those organizations, and students looking for positions with large firms can connect with those representatives as well. Just remember, no matter who you speak to, follow up! Sending follow up emails is great but taking the time to dust off the ever-classic pen and paper and writing a handwritten thank you letter to the representatives with whom you spoke is one of the best ways to stand out!
How to be successful at next year’s Meet the Pros:
First and foremost, remember that the point of a career fair is to build relationships with representatives from your favorite companies.
Don’t hand out a million resumes, print out just a few and make sure they get in the hands of the companies and organizations you really like.
Potential employers are always watching you, so make sure you maintain professional behavior.
Perfect your elevator pitch. Ask your professor, family, and friends, to role-play with you so you can practice selling yourself, and remember, it’s a conversation, not a monologue.
Stand out, now is the time to put your skills on display and step forward into success!