September 28, 2017

How to impress a recruiter

The Career Development Center (CDC)

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Did you know that every year the Mount Holyoke Career Development Center hosts dozens of employers on-campus for information sessions, including Google, McKinsey & Company, Barclays and Teach for America?

Fall is an especially busy time for these events, which provide an excellent opportunity for you to meet employers and for them to meet you! If you’ve never been to an information session before, or have attended one but weren’t quite sure if you were “doing it right,” here are some pointers from our external relations experts.

Student taking notes

1. Know what an information session is, and what it isn’t.

Employers come to campus to talk about their companies and available opportunities. Anyone can and should attend an information session. Students can be of any class year, major or citizenship.

Some information sessions will be presentations, while others might offer things like resume reviews. Depending on the timing of the event, you might even score a free meal. Check the description in Handshake so you know exactly what to expect.

Fact: Most organizations that come to campus are large and/or multinational firms, typically in the business, banking and consulting industries. For opportunities to connect with organizations and alumnae in other sectors, check out the Career Development Center calendar.

Close-up of a keyboard with social media icons as keys

2. Do your homework.

Being prepared can really help you stand out and make an impression on the recruiter. If you are very interested in — and considering applying to — a company, do some research on it in advance.

Take a look at the organization’s open positions in Handshake. Visit its website and social media pages. Try to learn the answers to basic questions so you are poised to make the most of your time together, by initiating more insightful and informed conversations.

3. Dress to impress.

A general rule of thumb? Come dressed as you would for an interview. The session is your first chance to make an impression with a company and you want to make it a good one.

Some industries, like banking and consulting, expect participants to show up polished and professionally dressed. If you don’t have professional attire, you could pair plain black or khaki pants with a dressy top. Steer clear of yoga pants, flip flops and the like.

4. Take notes and ask thoughtful questions.

A successful information session ends with you knowing what the company is about and what its application process entails. Be sure to write down who you’ve met in addition to details on deadlines, requirements or (ideally!) insider tips from the recruiter. If she or he says something during the presentation that you want to follow up on, jot it down so you can ask during the Q&A section at the end.

Don’t underestimate the power of thoughtful questions — they can help you shine like no other!

Student speaks with alumna

5. Make a plan to follow up.

Did you like what you heard? Introduce yourself to the presenter and ask for her or his business card — or determine how to follow up with appropriate person. Then, follow up! Send an email within 24 hours to thank the person for their time and reiterate your interest in the organization.

Another good next step? Look for Mount Holyoke alumnae with connections to the organization in the Alumnae Association’s Career Directory. If you find any, reach out and ask for an informational interview.

Want more?

For personal advising before or after an information session, make an appointment with the CDC at any time of the year by calling 413-538-2080. During the academic year, the CDC also offers walk-in sessions for one question or topic, up to 15 minutes, with no appointment needed.

Visit Handshake to learn more about who is visiting us this semester and which positions they currently have available.

Get recruited. Visit us!


Photo at top, of Lower Lake in fall, is courtesy of Rand Abu Al-Sha’17.

The Career Development Center (CDC) supports students as they explore their interests, refine their paths, find opportunities and prepare for life after college. To advance Mount Holyoke College’s curriculum-to-career experience, The Lynk, the CDC works closely with faculty, alumnae and employers to create and promote opportunities for experiential learning and full-time employment. The CDC offers personal appointments year-round and daily walk-in sessions during the academic year.
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