Auror? Hogwarts Gamekeeper? Wandmaker? As a shy and nervous First Year, I had no idea what I wanted to do after my schooling at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Thankfully, the school offers a Career Fair each semester in the Great Hall (IMU) where potential employers are looking to meet students just like me. Join me as I tell you my Career Fair journey.
Like any other first year, I was nervous as heck walking into the Great Hall with 160+ employers. The key for me was to think of this experience as a professional development experience rather than a job-searching mission. I spoke with 5 companies that interested me and told them my year, major, and career interests. It’s important to understand that even if you don’t get an internship opportunity, experiencing the Career Fair and speaking with companies will help you out for the future!
Now that I knew what to expect at the Career Fair, I focused more on the companies attending and researched them prior to the Fair. I used the excellent resources of the Pomerantz Career Center and the Marauder’s Map (Career Fair App: U of I Career Fair Plus) to prepare myself. A lot of companies were looking for Third Years to fill their internship roles but a lot of companies still hire qualified Second Years. A lot of companies also offer smaller/shorter programs for Second Years so I asked about those opportunities as well and fortunately got accepted into one. Overall, I felt comfortable and confident this year due to my First Year experience and preparation.
My preparation increased even more for my third year as I decided upon 5-7 companies that I really wanted to work for. I was studying a lot for my O.W.L.S. around the time of the Career Fair so I decided to go to a Prepare for the Fair Session. I did this to ensure I was ready to land an internship so I wouldn’t have stay with my dreadful Uncle and Aunt for another summer. I went to the Fair with a strong elevator pitch, questions about the companies I was interested in, and confidence that I was going to earn an internship opportunity. I successfully completed the Career Fair and the interview process and landed an internship opportunity for the upcoming summer!
As a Fourth Year I went back to the Fall Career Fair using the same preparation techniques and even more confidence than I had in my Third Year. I was offered a full-time position with a company and my job search was finally over. I will now be helping my company recruit at the upcoming Career Fair. Professor Dumbledore said I am his best student and Gryffindor is a shoo-in to win the House Cup. What a journey it has been at Hogwarts!
-Written by Noah Gumpert, student blogger