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Pitching Yourself for the Job Hunt
by Amanda Rossi ’12
Anxious, nervous, optimistic, and scared were just a few of the feelings I had going into the winter Retail Management Career Fair, held February 8. As a senior graduating this June, I saw the career fair as a great opportunity to start speaking with recruiters in the retail industry.
The RMI career fair is held every winter, and many distinguished retailers attend, including Nordstrom, Levi Strauss & Co, Williams-Sonoma, Gap, Macy’s, Apple, Cost Plus World Market, Hugo Boss, Kohl’s, Ross Stores, Safeway, Trader Joes, TJX Companies, and Target. The fair is only open to RMI students, which is one of the many privileges of being a part of the program. Students attending the fair included juniors looking for internships as well as seniors looking for job prospects.
The first thing I did to prepare for the fair was practice my one-minute “elevator pitch.” An elevator pitch is a short summary of yourself: name, major and minor, interests, and reason for being at the fair. The idea behind the elevator pitch came about from organizations; one should be able to pitch a summary of himself or herself to another employee during the length of an elevator ride. I have found this to be a perfect way to provide recruiters with my value proposition, or what I have to offer.
During the fair, my main goal was to speak with recruiters about job opportunities after I graduate. I spoke with Levi Strauss & Co., Gap, and Williams-Sonoma. My conversations focused on my interests, specifically in assistant merchandising positions, as well as when to apply online for open jobs. The difficulty that many seniors face is the fact that the retail industry prefers to hire and fill a position when there is a need. This means that retailers are reluctant to hire a senior now for a position in July.
My advice for seniors is to start the conversation with recruiters now, so that the recruiters can get to know you and help you find the right job. Recruiters are continually speaking about the importance of LinkedIn. Today, students must be engaged online and take the initiative to speak to people inside organizations, because an increasing number of jobs are found through connections online. For graduating seniors, stay focused, don’t get discouraged, and remember that your dream job could be just around the corner.