IBA Career Fair Tips for Students

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The Indiana Broadcasters Association Career Fair offers students the opportunity to meet with stations, make connections, and develop meaningful relationships to help launch their careers.

The first step is simply showing up.  Having face-to-face interactions with broadcast stations that are looking for new employees and interns already gives you an advantage over those who simply send in a resume.  But, once you are at the career fair, there is a lot you can do to maximize the opportunity.

Here are few tips that will make you more attractive as a potential future employee.

  1. Dress for the job. First impressions mean a lot and that begins the second an employer first meets you.  So, come dressed professionally.  Make sure your clothes are ironed and clean.  This is critically important because if you are hired, stations want to know that you can be a strong representative of their brand and values and your appearance reflects who you are as a person and broadcaster.
  2.  Make eye contact and ask questions.  The major role of a broadcast organization is to be a voice for the communities they serve.  Whether you want to be a reporter, engineer, or manager, it is important that you can connect with people.  Making eye contact during an interview is an easy, but impactful step.  Doing so shows that you are interested in what the employer has to say and that you genuinely want to make a connection.  But, it’s also critical to listen to what the employer is saying and a way to show that you are taking in what they are sharing is to ask questions, especially follow up questions.  Not only does this show that you are inquisitive, it shows that you can keep a conversation going and find out answers which is an essential role of any broadcaster.
  3. Sharpen your resume.  Your resume is a snapshot of who you are as a student and professional, so it should reflect that you can do the job you are pursuing.  Triple check spelling and punctuation.  Many employers, especially broadcasters, may eliminate you from consideration for even minor typos.  Attention to detail separates candidates who are similarly qualified, so don’t hurt yourself by not spending ample time ensuring your resume is at its best. Also, list what you’ve achieved to show that you have excelled in your assigned duties.
  4. Research. Research. Research. Prior to the career fair, the IBA posts a list of stations that will be present at the event at IndianaBroadcasters.org.  Make sure you look at this list and do some research on the stations that will be in attendance.  Become familiar with their staff, their format, and at least some of their history.  The more you know, the better.  Having familiarity with the organization will improve the conversation and prove that you are willing to do the work to best position yourself when opportunities arise.
  5. Relax.  Career fairs are excellent for making connections, but the time you have with each employer is often limited, so it’s important to put your best foot forward.  If you put too much pressure on yourself or feel overwhelmed, it will come across in the interview and likely leave a poor impression.  So, be prepared and be yourself and the interview will seem much more natural.
  6. Send thank you emails.  Most employers will give you a business card at the career fair.  Make sure you follow up with them with a thank you email no more than a few days after the event.  In the email, remind them of who you are, your career aspirations and include one tidbit from your conversation to show that you were listening and interested. Following up will help strengthen your connection and hopefully launch a relationship that can help in your career.  You can never have enough connections.
  7. Finally, learn from the process.  Every career fair is an opportunity to learn.  Every interview is different and every fair offers something new.  Use the chance to hone your interview skills and make new connections.  You never know who is watching.

Put these skills to work on February 18th at the IBA Career Fair.  The event begins at 10:00 a.m. with a panel discussion featuring some of the state’s most distinguished broadcasters:

Dustin Grove, anchor – WLFI TV in Lafayette
Brandon Smith, reporter – IPBS and host of Indiana Week in Review
Michelle Johnson, news director – WFYI Radio in Indianapolis
Amy Dillon, general manager – Brewer Broadcasting Corporation in Richmond
Julian Grace, reporter – WISH TV in Indianapolis

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