Insider Tips for the NGO, NonProfit, and Government Forum

Celia Givens is a junior at NYU studying Middle Eastern Studies & Political Science senior graduating in May 2014. Here is her take on making the most of NGO, NonProfit, and Government Forum.

I’ve always been interested in working for a government organization, so I jumped at the chance to attend the NGO, Non-Profit, & Government Forum in Washington D.C. last year. Although I dreaded getting up for the bus that leaves from Wasserman at 6am, I learned a lot about specific organizations and made some amazing industry connections.

Not surprisingly, career fairs are what you make of them. If you don’t prepare ahead of time you can end up wasting your entire day sweating in a business suit. Here are some tips to make sure you make the most of the NGO, Non-Profit, & Government Forum this year:

Research the organizations beforehand

Wasserman will always post the list of organizations on NYU CareerNet before the career fair. Decide which companies you are interested in and research them online. Take notes so when you’re talking to the recruiter you can impress them with your knowledge and interest in the company.

Plan your route

Career fairs are crowded and students tend to swarm the same five tables. Look at the map of the fair before you start making rounds so you can be strategic. If one table is too crowded, come back a little later when it’s less busy so you can have a meaningful conversation. Pro tip: Talk to the companies you are dying to work for early in the day before recruiters get hungry and start thinking about lunch. Recruiters are people too, and they get tired.

Bring several copies of your resume

This is a no brainer. If you end up getting along well with a recruiter and you don’t have a resume on you, you might be blowing your chance. Print at least 10 copies, on clean, white paper. Always have them readily accessible so you don’t spend five minutes searching through your bag to hand it to an employer.

Prepare 2-3 questions about the company

Every student asks the same question: Tell me about your organization! Recruiters are used to giving students the same talking points about their company, especially if there is a long line. Instead, ask them about their internship program for paralegals or their specialization in grassroots campaign training. These are the questions that will help them remember you when you follow-up later on.

Ask for a business card and follow up

Always ask for a business card. On the back, write down several things you spoke to the recruiter about so you will remember exactly who they are later. In the next few days, (no later!) send them a follow-up email detailing who you are, what you spoke about, and what you are interested in. By including what you spoke about, the recruiter will be more likely to remember you and help you out. Even if they aren’t hiring, you can always ask for an informational interview (or phone call!) to learn more about the industry.

If you are interested in a job or internship with an NGO, Non-Profit, or Government organization come join us at the Forum in DC on December 6th. Click https://nyu-csm.symplicity.com/students/index.php?mode=form&id=ac7e75fb9415d54519edfe94f308cd45&s=event&ss=ws for more information on the fair and reserving a seat on the Wasserman bus to DC.

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