Prepare for the Fair
Make your Fair visit effective. Prepare in advance, and know what to do when you're there. See the helfpul tips below. You can also watch a brief Job Fair Success presentation.... Undergraduates watch it here. Graduate students watch it here.
Before the Fair |
At the Fair | Links and More Info
A successful Job and Internship Fair experience can mean different things to different people. You might be looking for a job or internship, you might want to practice your job-search skills, or both!
Before the Fair:
1. Update your resume and take copies with you.
Most U of M career offices provide resume critiques and advice about your job search. Some also offer resume or interviewing workshops you can take before the Fair. For advice about creating a resume, see this Resume Guide, or look for more info on your college career site. (See Contact Info.)
2. Find out which companies will be at the Fair. Do some preliminary research so you can target a few (3 to 5) companies that truly interest you.
3. Once you've selected the companies you want to target, do more extensive research on them. Find out the company's size, general history, product(s), target market(s), and competitors. Good sources of information for that include:
4. Prepare a short script (just 2 or 3 lines) to introduce yourself with. Practice it and a firm handshake. In your script, try to include why you're interested in that company and the kind of position you're seeking.
5. Consider what your Strengths are and how you can use them to succeed at the fair. Get tips for how you can use each of your individual strengths to succeed in job searching and interviewing - many of these suggestions are useful for the career fair!
6. Be sure you have something professional to wear. Dress as you would for a formal interview.
- Women: Professional-looking dress, dress suit, or pantsuit; clean and comfortable shoes
- Men: Suit or jacket; shirt and tie; clean and comfortable shoes
7. Give some thought to the questions you'll want to ask the organizations or recruiters when you meet them at the Fair. See #4 below, "Questions you may wish to ask."
8. Get an idea of what the job fair is like by watching videos from last year's Fair.
At the Fair:
1. Look professional! Dress as you would for a formal interview.
- Women: Professional looking suit, tailored dress or pantsuit, polished and comfortable shoes
- Men: Suit or jacket, shirt and tie, polished and comfortable shoes
2. First, visit the 3 to 5 organizations that interest you most. You may have to wait in lines at each of them. If you have enough time after that, explore the other organizations at the Fair.
3. Have a confident, professional interaction with the organization's representative.
Use a firm handshake, make eye contact, and smile.
- Address the representative as Mr., Ms., or Dr. (check name tag). Introduce yourself by name, major, and graduation date, then begin the script you wrote in advance. (See "Before the Fair").
- Present your resume and indicate to the recruiter your purpose for attending the career fair.
- Demonstrate your knowledge of the field/organization.
- Relate your skills, interests, strengths and experiences to specific needs of the employer. Strengths coaches will be on hand the day of the fair to offer advice on how to use your strengths
to be successful at the job fair.
- Highlight your previous or current work experiences that show your ability to perform related tasks and indicate your potential to acquire skills.
- Refer to leadership roles or volunteer experiences coordinating committee activities, etc.
- Be responsive to questions posed by company representatives
- Listen carefully, your conversation may yield vital information or leads that might affect the interview or lead to potential employment opportunities.
4. Questions you may wish to ask company representatives at the Fair:
- What types of career opportunities does your organization offer?
- What majors does your organization typically hire?
- What are the job responsibilities for that type of position?
- What are the most important qualities or characteristics you look for in hiring for that position?
- What are the most important skills necessary to do the job?
- What recommendations would you make for someone who would like to enter that field?
- Are you aware of related occupations that I would be qualified for with the background/major that I have or am planning to pursue?
- How did you get into the organization/career field? What is your background? How does it relate to the position?
- What are typical first-year assignments?
- Could I set up a time to visit you at your workplace to talk more about what you do?
- Do you know someone in your organization who does…?
- Do you have internship or summer job opportunities for someone in my major?
- Do you know of other contacts that might be helpful to me?
- May I contact you if I need more information?
5. Be sure to follow up with the organization after the Fair.
- Keep notes on your conversations and how you said you would follow up.
- If no business card is available, ask if the recruiter can be reached at the telephone number or address on literature. Information at the Fair may be more current than materials found in a library or career center.
- Send thank-you letters immediately – within two days if possible.
- If contacting by letter, refer to the date and location of the Fair, and jog the recruiter's memory of you. Mention any unique points you discussed so the employer will remember you.
- Any important information should be restated and emphasized.
- Reiterate your qualifications and include any information you neglected to mention.
- Proofread your letter and let someone else look it over.
- You may want to include a copy of your resume.
For more information about preparing for interviews, see this Interviewing Guide, or look for more info on your college's career site. (See Contact Info.)
Additional Job-Search Resources and Links:
On Career Fairs:
On Careers and the Job Search:
- Iseek: Minnesota's gateway to career, education, employment, and business information.
- Monster.com: Full of career advice and job-search tips.
- For alumni: The U of M's Career and Lifework Planning, in the College of Continuing Education.
Get tips here for how to use your strengths in your job search!
Need to take the StrengthsFinder assessment? Find information below.
Twin Cities: click here for info about how to take the StrengthsFinder assessment.
Duluth: Students and alumni interested in taking the StrengthsQuest assessment should contact
Career Services at email@example.com or stop in the office in Solon Campus Center 22. Cost is $15.
Morris: Students and alumni interested in taking the StrengthsFinder assessment should contact
Career Services at firstname.lastname@example.org or stop in the office at 110 Library (in tunnel between
Student Center and Library). Cost is $15.