Corporate recruiters spend weeks (and in some cases, months) traveling from career fair-to-career fair each fall. Some recruiters will have already met hundreds of students and potential employees by the time they step inside the Classic Center on the morning of Wednesday, September 21st. You can count on this number to rise dramatically over the course of the UGA Career Fair day as well. To help you stand out, the CDIs have put together a blog series to help prepare you get noticed by the companies you are most interested in. Follow us as we journey through researching companies, preparing to interact with employers, choosing professional attire, making final preparations and following up with employers after the fair is over!

This week, we will be tackling the topic of researching companies. As mentioned above, recruiters will be meeting many qualified students the day of the Career Fair. Having a professional suit and great resume are necessary prerequisites to even be considered a viable candidate for a position. In order to truly yet yourself apart, you must do your homework before meeting a recruiter from your “dream” company. To aid in your endeavors, the Career Center has made employer research easier for you through DawgLink.

To begin, let’s start out small. What is DawgLink anyway? Simply put, DawgLink is a job posting site specifically for UGA students and alumni. Companies from around Athens, the Atlanta-metro area and nationwide send the Career Center job and internship postings to specifically recruit UGA students and alumni. This is great for you as a student (or alum) because these employers are truly interested in hiring UGA grads. For our purposes, DawgLink is especially helpful because it contains the list of this year’s Career Fair participants.

To begin your research, log in to the Career Center website. On our beautiful new homepage, you will find a log-on area for DawgLink. You may log in using your UGA MyID and password.

Once you enter the site, you will see a list of upcoming events on the right side of the page. Find the link for the “UGA Fall Career Fair 2011” and click on it.

The screen you arrive at will have a listing of the 149 companies scheduled to attend our Career Fair. Each listing will include the industry the company is in, preferred majors of interest, positions recruiting for, link to the website and other helpful information. These listings will be your launching pad for research. Read through the listings and compile a list of 10-20 “potentials”. Remember to consider all companies, even if you have not heard of them before.

Once you have compiled your list of companies, investigate them by thoroughly looking into the internships, jobs, and/or training programs they offer. By clicking on the company on DawgLink, you will be directed to a more detailed page specifically for that company. Spend time reading about the company, the corporate culture, positions available, etc. Begin to select the specific positions that you are truly interested in and learn their details. Visiting the corporate website can truly aid in this process too. You will find that your list may shrink during this process and that is fine!

As the Career Fair gets closer, work on narrowing down your list and learning as much as possible about the companies you are interested in talking to. Come up with questions to ask that relate to the corporate culture, recent company news, etc. that show you truly have down your research ahead of time. You can also prepare to highlight specific experiences from your resume that relate to the position you are interested in- while you will not always have time to share them with the recruiter, you will truly shine if you are able to!

The more you know, the more confidently you can converse with the recruiter present and the better chance you have of being remembered!