Super Bowl Sunday is rapidly approaching, and fans are anxiously awaiting one of the most thrilling events of the year. While sports fans are looking up artichoke dip recipes, ordering catered batches of wings, and setting out their lucky jersey, our college of business students hopefully have another event on their minds: our upcoming Career Expo and Spring Internship and co-op fair.

According to NACE (the National Association of Colleges and Employers) companies spend approximately half of their budget for entry level roles on collegiate career events. Do not think for one second that attending a career fair is not worth your time as a student- despite your current employment (no matter how much you love your current job), salary, etc.

Let’s take a lesson from the pros! In taking a look at the matchup for Sunday’s game you better bet that Tom Brady and Russell Wilson are gearing up and doing everything they can to have a leg up in the game….just like you should be preparing for your career events and increasing your odds in competition.

Using the right gear:

Precursor: no deflation jokes will be used here

A quarterback, or any player, will never go through the tunnels for a big game like the super bowl without having the proper equipment. Of course they have all of the best training gear around, but the most important point is that they are prepared and well equipped for the game. They have also trained with their equipment all season and know the variables of usage.

Career Equipment-

  • Do you have a suit? Accessories? Shoes? For tips here view Laura’s blog on proper fashion!!
  • Do you have your resumes printed out? Not just 1 copy, but one for every employer?
  • Do not chew gum…there is nothing more rude than smacking your gum in a Recruiter’s face
  • Have your elevator pitch keyed up and ready to go

Do not show up to a game if you are not prepared to play.

Knowing your opponent:

Brady and Wilson have been spending the last couple of weeks reviewing tapes, checking footage, and researching play calls. You should do the same for you “opponent”, which in this case is the employers you are trying to impress. There are hundreds of students competing for the roles you are vetting for- so stand out!

  • Put together a target list- who are your top 5/10 employers?
  • Know their strategies! Check out their career page, social media sites, and job openings so you come loaded with information. Example: “I read on Glassdoor that a lot of your employees recommend your Management Program. Can you tell me more about that?”
  • Have 3-4 specific questions written down for your interaction with each employer (can you tell me about your company culture? What about your training program? What do you enjoy about working here? What are the things you are looking for in an ideal candidate?)

Playing the game:

Preparation is key, but anything can change on game day. It’s all about the energy brought to the game, using intuition, and attacking at the right moments. Whether you’re a rookie or a veteran like Tom Brady, never go in with high expectations if you cannot own up to it.

For the rookies:

If you are still a student and are not ready to work full time, do NOT think that going to the Career Expo is a waste of your time. It is still an opportunity for you to network, build your contacts, and you never know– they may even have an internship available now or in the near future. Ask if they have recommendations on how you can build on your current resume now to become a perfect candidate for them by the time you graduate.

Game Plans:

  • Never go from table to table. Try to be strategic and approach your top rated employers first, then bounce around. If recruiters see you going to every table they will not feel special.
  • When leaving a recruiter’s table always ask for a business card and how you can follow up with them.
  • Add them on Linkedin after the event and send them a follow up email thanking them for their time and information. Maybe even ask to schedule a call so you can learn more! *A hand written card gives you a 2 point conversion here!!

Approach these events like it’s YOUR Super Bowl. This is your time to shine, and to set yourself up to land the job (or internship) of a lifetime. No, you will not get a diamond studded ring, but instead will get work experience, contacts, and mentors. This is your pep talk- go out and get em’!

Side note- who are you rooting for? I am cheering for Seattle myself…Enjoy!

Kelly Bogey, Career Coach/Football Fan