Lauren Keller is a new-to-TRU storyteller and will be reporting on her orientation and transition experience throughout the upcoming year.
Career & Experiential Learning is hosting the virtual Job Fair, which provides a platform for students to access employment opportunities. Community, provincial and national organizations will be recruiting students and new graduates from every program area for part-time work, summer employment and full-time roles. When the stakes are this high, it can be stressful for anyone, but if you’re an introvert, networking might be particularly intimidating. As an introverted person, I find the pressure of interacting with others, particularly in digital spaces, to be anxiety-provoking. Perhaps you’re also dreading the idea of small talk or fearful of mistake-making in front of someone you want to impress. Even though I’m in my first year, I’m already thinking about my professional pathway, so I found ways to overcome my concerns with the help of Career Services Coordinator (and fellow introvert) Noah Arney.
Here is a list of tips to help you make the most out of Job Fair:
Follow up with employers to connect one-on-one at a later date. Contact info will most likely be a part of their Job Fair package, but don’t be afraid to ask. For example, you could say something like, “Can I get your email address, so I book some time with you?”
Practice beforehand can help you figure out how to react to different scenarios ahead of time. For example, you can book a peer mock interview session by logging into Career Connections, selecting Mock Interview (Peer to Peer), and choosing a time that fits your schedule.
Blur your background to feel more at ease if you are nervous about being judged in your own space.
Keep your camera on so recruiters can see you, but if that makes you vulnerable or anxious, have something to fidget with to help calm your nerves; Arney uses a tennis ball.
Set the stage! Arney notes that a significant upside to virtual job fairs is that you can control your environment. Fix yourself a glass of water, a cup of tea, grab a blanket for your lap; there are many steps you can take to make sure you are comfortable.
Prepare notes with introductory keywords can prevent introduction jitters or provide prompts if your brain short-circuits from anxiety. Arney recommends mentioning your program, year, a skill or achievement, and something you like about the company. For example, I could say, “I am a new-to-TRU Storyteller currently playing three intramural sports.” Being in a club, student group, or team shows you understand teamwork, are involved in campus activities and currently receiving coaching and mentorship. Once you get your first introduction right, it is a lot easier from there; remember, preparedness leads to confidence. Your story and experiences are unique and can set you apart from other applicants.
Take notes in break-out spaces or while listening to conversations between employers and other students. It’s an opportunity to hear questions and answers that may be helpful to you later. Feel free to mention you have prepared notes and are taking notes; employers won’t mind!. There are multiple ways to take notes, too, such as pen or paper or with a note-taking app.
Research the companies you plan to meet to prepare your notes and questions so you feel less stressed and have a starting point for conversations. One of the goals you should have for Job Fair is to learn about the companies, their industries, and most importantly, how you connect with them.
Be active in the chat, which can help you make sure you get your words right. It will reduce concerns about interrupting someone’s conversation, but you can get out your thoughts while they are still relevant.
Highlight your introversion superpowers in your resume to let employers see that you have other valuable skills to showcase, although you may not be talkative or have an outgoing personality.