It’s never too early to search for your dream job at EncompassCMU

If you walk into the Cohon Center Tuesday and Wednesday while taking the warmer route to class, you may feel out of place amongst an exceptionally well-dressed crowd, the likes of which are rarely seen on campus outside of the Tepper School of Business. It’s that time of year again: various companies are here this week for EncompassCMU, the semester’s largest career fair.

The fair will take place in the Wiegand Gymnasium from 10 a.m.–12:45 p.m. for internship opportunities and 2 p.m.–5:45 p.m for full-time positions, although students are welcome to attend either session if they have class conflicts. If you’re a first-year or sophomore, chances are that you’re not going. Perhaps you intended to go, but are now having second thoughts given the number of jobs that go to upperclass students. On the other hand, you may be going, but mainly for the swag — free stuff, for the uninitiated. Here are some better reasons to go to EncompassCMU as an underclassman.

Nothing to lose

Take a moment to sit back and think about your dream job. I bet there will be at least one company at EncompassCMU where you can get that job, or do something related that’s equally exciting.
This semester’s EncompassCMU is one of the few events at which you’ll have absolutely nothing to lose by talking to recruiters. Your passion may even impress them enough to land you that dream summer job! You’ll never know if you don’t take the plunge.

Prep for future fairs

If you’re firmly convinced that there’s no way that the company of your choice will hire a freshman or sophomore, here’s a more practical reason to go to EncompassCMU. Going to EncompassCMU this year is good preparation for your following years at Carnegie Mellon. Attending this semester will allow you to feel what it’s like, so that you know what to expect as an upperclass student. Simply walk up to the company that you’re eyeing for a job in the future, and chat with the recruiter. Ask about the company’s required qualifications and interview process, so that you know what they’re looking for and can be better prepared for the following year, when you’re in the running for a job.

Small booths are hiring

While you’re at it, check out some of the smaller booths that none of the upperclassmen are going to. Chatting with the recruiters there is less stressful — sometimes even fun — and can definitely boost your confidence. And remember, they’re hiring too. So if they offer any opportunities you’re interested in, go for it! The odds of getting that job are substantially higher and the company probably pays more than traditional summer employers. So, hunt out your nicest formal clothes and be prepared to join the crowd of well-dressed students. Draft a quick résumé — or update an already existing one — and print out a few copies. Make a name tag, dress nicely, and get ready to go.