With Business Horizons quickly approaching, it is easy for those last minute nerves to creep up on you. We all experience them and know that they inhibit our confidence to present ourselves in the best light to possible employers. Read Emma’s advice for keeping the faith in yourself to successfully tackle Business Horizons!
Adhere to a nighttime and morning routine
It’s common to feel the need to stay up all night preparing your elevator pitch and deciding what to wear, but your body and mind need rest in order to perform to the best of your abilities. Be sure to get to bed at a reasonable hour so that your mind is clear for the next day. Lay out your professional attire so that it is ready to go in the morning. When you wake up, eat a good breakfast, practice your pitch one more time, and make sure you have your resume ready. Head to class just as usual and go about your typical day. When it comes time to make your way to Business Horizons, you won’t feel as overwhelmed as you would have if you spent the whole night cramming last minute information into your brain.
Read over company information
Get an idea of what companies will be attending by reading over the list and researching those who sound interesting to you. Be aware of who is hiring based on your major, minor, or concentration. This will help narrow down who you spend your time talking to, rather than waiting in line for a company who, for example, doesn’t even offer an internship for the position you are seeking. I would suggest researching the culture and mission of two or three companies that are of serious interest to you. It is impressive to come prepared and know some background on the company, instead of simply selling yourself the entire time. Try to explain how your skills will align with the company’s vision. Also, don’t be afraid to ask questions when something is confusing or you would like more insight on the topic at hand. Recruiters will see your passion for your work more so than if you nod your head and go along with everything they say. You will undoubtedly feel more confident by preparing for these conversations ahead of the event. Check out the Business Horizons website for more information on companies in attendance this year.
Refrain from comparing yourself to others
This is something I know I am very guilty of doing, but it is so important to remember that your individual accomplishments are, in fact, your own. Try to focus on all that you can bring to a job instead of worrying about how many internships everyone else has held or “cooler” experiences they have had. Every job, internship, class, you name it, prepares you for the next one! Most of the time companies want to see quality over quantity, so if you do not have as much corporate experience don’t worry! If you put a lot of hard work and effort into one or two positions, then companies will see you have the same experience, and maybe even more leadership qualities, over someone who may have worked for more businesses, but never progressed in said business. You are unique and talented; the right company and position will find you if you are willing to put in the time and dedication!
Utilize your support system
If your parents are anything like mine, they love hearing about how you’re doing. When something great happens or if I’m not feeling my best, I know they will always be there to provide guidance and support. If you find yourself stressed out, give your parents a call and talk with them about how they prepared for career fairs! I bet they will be more than happy to provide insight on helping you prepare for the workforce. Similarly, your best friends, significant other, CWIB mentor, or any others you hold a special relationship with, know you better than anyone else. Sometimes all it takes is hearing about the confidence these important people have in you for you to realize it in yourself. Don’t be afraid to reach out, communicate your feelings, and work through your thought process with the people who know your strengths and weaknesses. I guarantee you’ll feel more confident in yourself after reflecting with those who never lack confidence in you.
Take advantage of your Clifton Strengths
Virginia Tech requires its students to take the Clifton Strengths Finder when they are freshmen. Initially, I thought this test would be like any other skills finder that I didn’t foresee predicting my true personal strengths, but I found that my results were extremely accurate of my personality and how I tackle situations. If you’ve taken this assessment, truly familiarize yourself with your strengths and determine how you can make these apparent when talking to companies at Business Horizons. I’ve had a boss tell me that once she realized how to include her individual strengths in interviews and elevator pitches, she was able to confidently sell herself since she truly believed in what she was saying. To use a personal example, my top strength is “Harmony.” I would incorporate this trait in my elevator pitch as to how I bring a collective and team-centered attitude to any goal we are trying to achieve. Since I have several anecdotes to back up this claim, recruiters will get a true sense of how I value relationship-building, and how I would prioritize this at their company. If you have not completed the Clifton Strengths Finder, you can search for the program through the Virginia Tech website and enter your PID and password to take the individualized test.
Reach out to your CWIB community
We are so fortunate to be members of an organization where women from all over Virginia Tech, not just Pamplin, can share their professional experiences and offer advice. Reach out to other CWIB members to see how they are preparing for Business Horizons. While it is crucial to refrain from comparing ourselves, we can still use each other to practice elevator pitches, hear about previous BH experiences, and even walk to the event together! I am always so empowered after hearing about how CWIB members have overcome obstacles and succeeded in their goals; it is reassuring to feel surrounded by like-minded women who are passionate about the same things you are.
I know Business Horizons can be intimidating, for newcomers and returners alike. Take advantage of these pieces of advice and I guarantee you will feel more confident in yourself. No matter how cliché it may sound, these recruiters are just people too. If you show your confidence in yourself, they will take you seriously and realize your potential. Good luck at Business Horizons CWIB!
Business Horizons will take place at Squires Student Center on September 5, 2019 from 10am – 4pm.
By: Emma Harwood