Future Forum Tips

As part of the university’s Engaged Scholarship initiative, students in my SRA 111 sections recently participated in a career fair networking activity, designed to help them prepare for the IST Future Forum, which will be held on Thursday. Last night I emailed the students this list of tips, for whatever they’re worth. In the spirit of “eh, what the heck” that is at the heart of straymarcs.net, I share them with you, too:

Before the Future Forum

  • General information about the Future Forum is available here
  • The compilation of company profiles that Shannon (our guest who was part of the Engaged Scholarship initiative) provided is your friend. Look this over, with a focus on the companies you’ll want to talk to on Thursday.
  • Don’t have a resume yet? Follow this list of tips.
  • Would you like to have your resume reviewed in a low/no stakes environment? Ask your teachers or LAs, and they would be happy to help you.

During the Future Forum

  • The Future Forum is from 10a to 4p in the IST Building, on the first and second floors.
  • Dress professionally. It can get a little crowded, so try to avoid bringing a bulky bookbag. You might want to leave your bags and jacket in the lockers near the first-floor entrance of the IST Building.
  • I recommend bringing at least 20 copies of your resume (fancy paper is nice, but not necessary), and a notebook and pencil so that you can take notes while you’re talking to recruiters.
  • Immediately write down the name of the person you’re talking to. I’m not sure about you guys, but often when I’m introduced to somebody and they tell me their name, I’m often so focused on making a good impression that their name goes in one ear and out the other (which in turn makes a horrible impression). You’ve got a good excuse to take notes during the career fair, so you don’t have to fall victim to this, too.
  • Ask for business cards after talking to each recruiter. After you finish talking to them, write what you’ll say to them (including your “personal story” so that they can remember who you are) on the back. Send a thank-you email 24–48 hours later.

After the Future Forum

  • Penn State’s Spring career days at the BJC are February 9 and 10, but the Future Forum is much better if you’re interested in an IST- or SRA-related jobs. The recruiters on Thursday will know what IST and SRA are, and the setting is much more intimate.
  • If your resume is looking a little sparse and you’re interested in joining an SRA-related student organization or two, I recommend
  • On that same note, here’s the list of Resources for Finding Engaged Scholarship Experiences (which Shannon showed at the end of class).
  • After the Forum, jot down a few notes about things you could have done better for next time, and review these notes before the next career fair. You’ll have many chances to perfect this skill.