Starting an internship means leaving the student world and entering the professional world. It’s time to look the part and ditch the backpack.
So what’s wrong with a backpack? Let me ask you – Why do you use a backpack? Is it because you’re a student and need it to carry your books and supplies? The answer is probably yes.
In this environment, a backpack making you look like a student is expected and normal. But in the workplace, you want to be seen as a professional. Looking like a professional helps you to be taken more seriously by co-workers, which is particularly important as an intern. And if you hope that your internship translates into a job, then making a good impression through your work AND overall image will help make that a reality.
For women, the backpack alternative is easier to find. But what about the men? Here are some examples of appropriate work bags for men:
Leather Excursion Messenger Bag – Red Envelope
Columbian Leather Messenger Bag – Kenneth Cole Reaction
Classic Messenger Bag – Timbuk2
This last example is better suited for a more casual workplace. But given the neutral color, it could work in a business casual environment.
For more professional wardrobe ideas, check out my boards on Pinterest:
Men – Are you using a professional looking bag when you go to work?
It’s career fair week at UW-Whitewater! If you’re looking for a spring or summer internship (that’s spring and summer 2012), you will definitely want to attend the Hawk Career Fair this Wednesday, September 28 from noon to 4 pm in the Williams Center, Gym 1.
44 of the 111 employers coming to the fair are looking to connect with potential interns. You can pull up this list by logging into Hawk Jobs and going through the “Career Fairs & Workshops” page or finding it on the Home page as an Upcoming Event.
How to Be Prepared
- Get your resume ready. At this point, it’s ideal if your resume is good to go. Now, get your print copies prepared. Print your resume on high quality, thicker paper. No regular printer paper here. Gray or off-white are good color selections. You can pick up “resume paper” from the UWW Bookstore or you can find heavier stock paper at Walmart. Print out several copies, enough to hand out to the employers you wish to talk to.
- Figure out who you want to talk to. With over 100 employers attending, Gym 1 is going to be a packed place. Develop a plan of attack well before the fair. First, access the list of attending employers, search to identify who might be offering the types of opportunities you’re looking for, and start doing your research. When you arrive at the fair, the list of employers with a corresponding map of the gym will be available to help you find your way around.
- Set out your career fair outfit. The preferred attire for the Hawk Career Fair is business professional. At a minimum, come in business casual dress. Whatever you wear, make sure that it is clean, wrinkle-free, and conservative.
- Leave the backpack at home. Yes, you’re a student and obviously the employers know it. Nonetheless, employers need to envision you as a professional. Backpacks scream student and throw off the image you want to project. Instead, pick up a nice portfolio (you can find UWW ones at the Bookstore) to carry your resumes in. If you get one that has a pad of paper in it, write down the questions you’ve prepared for your target employers and bring a pen to jot down any notes as you go.
- Practice your self-pitch. Career fairs are really just networking events. You will be approaching recruiters that you’ve never met before, so first impressions are very important. Make a solid impression by having a well-prepared introduction that captures your personal brand. This also includes a handshake. Practice shaking hands with your friends or roommates until it’s just right.
I wish you all the best as you attack the career fair. I hope you make some good connections and that those connections lead to opportunities.
Photo by Alex Proimos