Career Fair Countdown! Week 2: Research Prep

Nicole Schneiter – October 20th, 2015

The Fall Job and Internship Fair is coming up on Oct. 28th and 29th! In order to make sure you’re fully prepared (and not waiting until the last minute), we’ve created a Career Fair Countdown! blog series. Whether you’re a fourth year looking for a job after graduation or a first year exploring your career options, tune in to stay ahead of the game for acing the career fair.


Hello! My name is Nicole and I’m one of the Career Peer Educators (CPE) working specifically as the student ambassador for the Engineering, Science, and Technology (EST) career community. I’m currently a 4th year, majoring in Environmental Science with a minor in Global Sustainability. At the upcoming career fair, I will be looking for a position after graduation that allows me to be in a dynamic environment, working and engaging with diverse people as related to the environmental sciences industry. Over the next few weeks, I’ll focus on 1 new thing every week that you can do to manage your time and start your preparation, as well as use myself as an example for the steps I’m taking to prepare for the career fair!


With 2 Weeks Left: Research Prep

The Career Fair is next week and it’s finally time to look at who will be here! You’ll want to conduct appropriate research on the company, prepare relevant questions, and know which day each recruiter will be at the Fair.


First things first…

Find the list of employers! The list may be long, so use the search tool! Try different parameters and changing how specific or general your search is by using more or less search criteria. Choose about 5-6 employers to focus on and rank them in priority from highest to lowest.


Researching the Companies:

Questions to Ask Yourself during Research:

  • What does the company do?

  • What are the company’s core values? Mission statement?

  • What positions are available?

  • What is the organization of the company?

  • What does the company’s history look like? Are they a recent start-up or long established?

  • With what industry/industries is the company affiliated?

  • What makes the company different from competitors?


Great Search Tools:

  • The company’s website: These can be found on the same link as the list of employers. It’ s a great way to get facts about the company, find their mission statement, and access their Human Resources site for the most up to date job postings.

  • Insider by VAULT: You may want to access this resource via Handshake to get full access! Here are EST-specific links for VAULT:

  • Glassdoor: Find reviews on companies by employees

  • LinkedIn: Go to "Interests" then "Companies" to search specific employers, or go to "Connections" then "Find Alumni" to connect with UVA alumni who are currently working at that company.


Questions to Prepare for Recruiters:

  • How would you describe the responsibilities of the job?

  • What is the timeline for the hiring process about this position?

  • What does the work environment/company culture look like?

  • What do you like best about working for this company?

  • How long have you been with the company?

  • Who might I be working with in this position?

  • What are relevant skills to have within this position?

  • May I contact you with more information?

  • Do you have a business card I may contact you by?


Personal Tip: Sometimes recruiters are representing a specific department of a larger organization, so a question I’ve used in the past was “Do you know of another contact that may be helpful to me?” Ask this only if you know about a position or program that is being offered by another department of that company.


My Personal Research Process:

To search companies attending the Fair, I began by conducting a search by my major: Environmental Science. Then I searched by indicating different industries of interest: Environmental Services and Consulting Services. From there I did some extra exploring and looked at the Human Resources, Engineering, and Communications industries. I found some interesting companies by branching out my search!


My next step was to visit their websites, gather relevant information, and make short, concise bullet points about the information I think is most valuable. Here are my sparknotes for one of top priority companies:

ICF International: Day 2

  • Consulting services, globally

  • Markets: climate (sustainability, GHG mitigation and adaptation), environment (natural resource management, public outreach, conservation)

  • Services: IT, policy, management consulting, research, more

  • Relevant buzzwords: passion, maximize beneficial impact, innovative, long-term solutions, advise and execute

  • Skills/experience to bring up: sustainability involvement with Green Dining and minor Capstone, Global Climate Change and Policy class, Orientation experience working with large, diverse people

  • Questions:

    • What does the application process look like?

    • How would you describe responsibilities for an entry-level position?

    • What do you enjoy most about working for ICF International?

    • How would you describe the workplace atmosphere?

I feel comfortable in letting the conversation flow naturally, but it can never hurt to include extra questions and talking points for yourself!


Get extra tips and feedback!

The Career Center at Bryant Hall has office hours every Monday-Thursday from 1-3pm. Stop by to have a career counselor or a CPE give you tips to further your research.

Christie, our most wonderful career counselor who is working directly with the EST community, has office hours in Rice Hall Room 107 every Tuesday from 3-5pm.


General Resources:


Next Week: Last Minute Tips

You have updated your resume, perfected your pitch, done your research, but be sure to tune in next week for last minute tips and reminders!

Need Help Creating your Introductory Pitch? Check out last week’s blog for tips and resources!

Still working on your Resume for the Career Fair? Find tips and resources from our first Career Fair Countdown blog post.