The semester may just be starting, but Redbirds are ready to get to work—not only work in the classroom, but to work on their careers!

To support Redbird career success, the Career Center is hosting the Spring Internship Fair Tuesday, February 19, from 4 to 7 p.m. in the Brown Ballroom of the Bone Student Center. Recruiters from a number of industries are a registered to attend. Fortune 500 companies like State Farm and Liberty Mutual; local organizations such as GROWMARK, Progressive Impressions and CEFCU; and nonprofit agencies including the Peace Corps and MarcFirst are eager to meet new professionals for their internship positions.

“These organizations not only represent a variety of industries, but they are looking for a variety of majors as well,” said Andee Radliff, Career Center assistant director for employer relations. “Students from all areas of interest are encouraged to attend to discuss options and opportunities, even with those employers who are not directly in their major. Students can learn about opportunities that relate to their fields of study, or just to connect with employers to start building professional connections.”

Value of internships

Internships are an essential to not only career readiness, but also to career development. “Internships allow students to utilize their skills, gain experience, and show employers how they perform in the workplace,” said Career Center Internship Manager Debbie Ungson-Walbert. “In many cases, internships and part-time positions have turned into full-time employment.”

Fair preparation

To help students prepare for the fair, the Career Center is hosting InstaCareer from 4–7 p.m. in the Bone Student Center. Participants will rotate through various stations to learn how to introduce themselves to employers, how to make a good first impression, how to dress appropriately, and how to research and follow up with employers after career events.

Students can also bring their résumés to the Late-night Résumé Reviews held at Milner Library. Trained career ambassadors will review résumés and LinkedIn profiles and provide useful tips on how to present oneself positively to employers.

Here are additional tips on how to prepare for the fair:

  • Research employers—Review the list of employers registered for the fair a few weeks before by visiting Hire-A-Redbird or the Spring Internship Fair webpage. Identify which employers to visit at the fair and check out the employers’ websites so you know more about them before meeting. This will help to answer the popular question, “What do you know about our organization?”
  • Create a Hire-A-Redbird profile—This job vacancy tool allows you to register for the fair and lets employers know you’re attending. You can also post your résumé into résumés books for employers to take a sneak peek, and apply for openings ahead of time.
  • Develop a 30 second summary—Identify how you’ll discuss your professional skills, experience, and interests so you can answer the question, “Can you tell me about yourself?”
  • Identify your answers to frequently asked questions—Visit the Career Resource Guide for samples of questions commonly asked by employers.
  • Watch this Career Center video from an actual career fair to see what it is like and get inside tips and advice from students who attended.

Make a good first impression

Students attending the Spring Internship Fair should present themselves as professionals. A few weeks before the fair, order free business cards to distribute to employers when meeting them. After participating in a résumé review, print it on free résumé paper available through the Career Center. In addition, attendees should consider wearing a suit or other professional attire.

The semester will pass by before we notice. Attend the Spring Internship Fair in February to reach your career goals, and ultimately to achieve career success.

The Career Center assists all Illinois State University students with developing, evaluating, and implementing career decisions, and supports Illinois State University’s Educate ● Connect ● Elevate strategic plan.