STEM Career Fair Success
Make the most out of the Career Fair by preparing for this important networking event ahead of time. Review the following keys to successful Career Fair attendance and visit your career coach at Career Services for any additional questions and advice.
Whether you are a freshman or a PhD candidate, sure of your academic major or not, Utah State’s Career Fair can serve as a valuable resource to explore careers and seek employment. Attend this Career Fair to:
- Explore different career fields by visiting with employers from all types of agencies and organizations -- in one place at one time.
- Talk with recruiters about the variety of career paths available.
- Gain insights from the employers you might obtain an internship or career position with.
- Find out how to apply for open positions and schedule on-campus interviews the next day.
- Expand your network of employer contacts.
Six Steps to Career Fair Success
Depending on your interest in exploring careers versus obtaining an internship/career position, follow these six steps in preparing for a successful Career Fair:
View the list of employers attending the Fair and identify the ones that you are most interested in approaching. A quick visit to these organizations’ web sites to review their mission statements, operations, and typical job openings will help you decide. Identify your priority or “A-list” employers and visit them first. Include in that list the employers who plan to stay the day after the Fair to hold interviews. If you have a Career AGGIE account, you will receive customized emails identifying the key employers you might wish to network with on the day of the Fair.
Although a targeted resume works best when applying for employment, a general resume which provides a broad overview of your experiences and skills works well for the Fair. You need not include an objective statement but can use one if you are targeting your priority employers with a customized resume. Drop-in resume edits are available daily at Career Services and other times by appointment. Don’t wait until the last minute to get help with this important document. The use of a student business card can be very effective at the Career Fair. These are available at a very low cost and can be designed and ordered on our web site with pick up and payment at Career Services, ground level of the University Inn.
Dress PROFESSIONALLY! You cannot undervalue a first impression so consider coming prepared for the job you hope to get. Business casual is recommended, but a suit is also appropriate if you are about to graduate and this attire fits the organizational norm for the employer you are visiting.
Name badges are available at the entrance to the Fair and employers prefer seeing your name, major, and graduation date before you even begin talking with them!
Employers expect you to walk up and introduce yourself. This may feel uncomfortable at first, but with practice you will get used to doing it and doing it well! Remember, recruiters are at the Fair to meet you so follow these steps:
- Visit the organizations you are most interested in first and as early in the day as possible. If the booth is busy, move on to another recruiter and come back later.
- Smile, make eye contact, offer your hand, and introduce yourself. A good firm handshake and eye contact shows confidence.
- Provide a 30-second introduction which includes the degree you are pursuing, your major, and what type of opportunity you are looking for.
EXAMPLE: “Hello, my name is Jon; it is very nice to meet you. I am a senior working on a BS in English with experience and coursework in Technical Writing. I would like to know how I might use these skills within your organization as an intern.”Be personable and keep your interaction brief but effective. Don't forget to ask what your next step should be in the application process.
- Ask if you can give them a resume! Some employers will suggest that you “just visit our web site to apply” and will not accept a resume. The value of meeting a company recruiter face-to-face comes later in the follow-up phase.
- Thank the recruiter for the information they provided and shake their hand. Ask for a business card in order to follow-up.
The process of researching organizations will likely make you think of questions you would like to ask recruiters when you meet them at the Fair. These can include:
- What majors would best prepare me to work with your organization?
- How do I apply for internships/career positions?
- What skills are you most interested in seeing in a candidate?
- What kinds of additional skills or experiences would set me apart from other candidates?
- If the organization’s recruiter is staying the next day to hold interviews, be prepared to ask for an interview.
Once you make a great first impression, keep the ball rolling with effective follow-up! You can do this through email, phone, or the mail and should be done within a few weeks of the event. Your message should include another thank you, state your interest in pursuing a position with their organization (now or in the future), and request an opportunity to meet again to discuss your qualifications in greater detail.
Here is where having a recruiter contact really pays off. Apply online AND send the recruiter an email letting them know that you completed the application while attaching a copy of your resume to the email. This allows the recruiter to potentially pull your application and/or send a message to the appropriate department encouraging them to look at your application. Additionally, as you gain new skills, obtain internship experience, perform undergraduate research, expand leadership skills, etc. you have a reason to reach out to keep that contact excited about you as a potential intern or career employee.
SEE YOU AT THE FAIR!
Dress For Success
As you seek employment, every advantage you can get is important -- especially that first impression! The following are a few suggestions for business casual and formal attire.
Business Casual – for LESS traditional/conservative fields
For Women: a skirt (not too long or too short) or nice pants with a blouse or sweater is appropriate. Avoid shorts, sneakers, t-shirts, and too much jewelry, and remember good grooming.
For Men: a shirt with a collar that buttons is best though a nice polo shirt is acceptable with slacks, not jeans. Avoid shorts, t-shirts, sneakers, and remember good grooming.
Formal Dress – for MORE traditional/ conservative fields
For Women: A suit with a knee-length skirt or pants and blouse. A skirt or pants with a blouse and no jacket or a day dress that is structured and not too dressy is also acceptable. Shoes should be appropriate to the outfit and heels should not be too high.
For Men: A suit and tie is best with dress shoes. A long-sleeved dress shirt with a tie and no jacket is also acceptable.