jeff-lewisJeff Lewis had the opportunity to attend the 2016 National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) conference in Boston, MA last March.  Below are his insights in preparing for the conference.

The 2017 conference is March 29-April 2, 2017 in Kansas City, MO.  For more information, please click here.

How did you prepare for the NSBE conference?

Well, our NSBE chapter execs thought ahead using lessons learned from the previous year’s conference to help prepare the rest of the chapter members for 2016’s NSBE national conference in Boston. Though most of the things that were brought to the chapter members attention were things I already knew from being in the business industry prior to attending Riddle, I still found a lot of useful information to take heed to.

Some of the tips given through the organization were appropriate dress including style of clothing to colors; proper resume building and style; “elevator” speech; and conduct within a professional setting.

Using all of this information, I was able to apply the tips and have a pretty successful experience attending my first ever professional national conference with NSBE.

What was the experience like attending a conference of this size and how did you make the most of the career fair opportunity?

At first, attending the NSBE national conference seemed to be a little overwhelming but once I got used to the setting it was easy to navigate. I like to display the utmost confidence throughout the entire conference.

To make the absolute most of the career fair, the first thing I did that was most important was be there early. Now, I had an advantage being an APEx member meaning my GPA being above a certain minimum allowed me the privilege to enter the career fair earlier than general admission.

I walked around – Look and listen! I LOOK for all of the career paths that I have the opportunity to go into and those that I don’t want to go into. I LISTEN to the recruiters and the candidates to not only see what the job is looking for but what the job is willing to give to the potential employee.

In your opinion, what made you stand out with the employers?

I think the biggest thing that stood out to employers was me being myself. I set out to just take in the career fair. I honestly wasn’t looking for any offers from companies with it being my first career fair of this magnitude. I wanted to get my bearings and make sure I didn’t misstep and cause myself to be out of the running for future opportunities.

I did still talk to recruiters but typically it was in a lax state in which I was just being friendly or asking questions about the organization. I loitered the company’s booth figuring what the company was all about. Usually, a recruiter would come to me and encourage me to apply to which I would engage in an informal conversation with them. This proved to gain the recruiters attention more readily than initiating a standard conversation with a description of my resume.

What recommendations or suggestions would you give conference attendees?

Having gone through this experience, I learned a few things.

  1. Prepare
  2. Be confident
  3. Be professional at all times (you never know who may be watching)
  4. Take full advantage of the conference and what it has to offer
  5. Learn!