Nidhi’s Freshman Advice: Career Fairs

By Nidhi Manoj

Lines for Stanford’s Computer Forum Career Fair can get long. (Courtesy of Kylie Jue)

Stanford has amazing resources for individuals interested in CS, and among them are career fairs, which provide a means to learn about internship opportunities and talk to recruiters from tech companies. Internships are a great way to apply the knowledge you learn at Stanford and contribute to a project/product. So it helps to be prepared for career fairs!

Stanford tends to have career fairs twice a year — once in autumn and another in winter, some tailored specifically to engineering, when you can learn more about software internships. Go to both career fairs — especially the autumn event if you are looking for a software engineering internship for the following summer, since recruiting can begin as early as October. Attend the career fairs even if you are a freshmen or already have an offer. The experience provides perspective and an opportunity to learn more about companies, to get feedback on your resume, and to get a lot of cool tech swag! Additionally, the vibe of a career fair is very unique: it can be loud, crowded, and daunting so it helps to know how to navigate a career fair even before you begin looking for an internship.

Be sure to collect the free swag! (Courtesy of Michelle Lam)

Once you arrive with your printed resumes, visit companies you are interested in and talk to the recruiters to learn more about what they do and how you can get involved. The recruiters really want to meet you and provide the information you need to stay informed. They may ask about your past work, classes, and side projects to see if you are a good fit for the company and if they are a good fit for you. If they think that you are, they will follow up with an opportunity to interview with the company’s engineers. The recruiters meet a lot of people over the course of the day so the fastest way to learn more about you is through an easy-to-skim resume. Don’t be daunted! Just keep your resume uncluttered and discuss your interests with the recruiter. Lastly, feel free to ask questions you may have about the company and internship; the recruiter will do their very best to answer your inquiries or direct you to resources that can.

Career fairs can be daunting and stressful, but getting familiar with the environment and talking to recruiters will help you get far along in the process of finding a great internship!

Nidhi Manoj is a sophomore majoring in CS. She has interned with Andreessen Horowitz and Facebook and is passionate about AI and finance. She also loves golden retriever puppies and elephants!

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