Career Fair Preparation - Mapping Your Steps to Success
Attending a career fair has its perks. Indiana State University Alumni can testify that their current job was a result of their effort put into preparing for the twice-annual event. To prepare for success, download the Career Fair Countdown Document and navigate through each of the sections below.
- Students must use the 8th street entrance
- There will be a clothing check, so please make sure you follow our fair-wear guide
- Have your Sycamore ID ready for check-in
- A list of employers and map will be available at the door
- Locate the companies you have already researched on the map and visit their tables
- Regroup at the Student Café and identify another set of companies to visit
Indiana State University, Terre Haute, Indiana
Bachelor of Science in Criminology, May 2014
Jarred Duebel, an Indiana State University Alumnus, had a great experience networking his way into a job by attending an ISU Career Fair. Jarred contributes his success to previous work experience, and learning networking etiquette through opportunities he was given while attending Indiana State University. For networking and interview success, Jarred’s advice is to be yourself, honest, and to not sound “too rehearsed or like a broken record.” Utilizing a variety of services at the ISU Career Center is a great place to receive feedback and to polish your professional skills.
Jarred made valuable connections at the Indiana State University Career Fair. Because of his early preparation, he felt confident when speaking with employers. After the Career Fair, Jarred followed up with employers and was given the opportunity to interview for and eventually landed a job that was advertised at the Indiana State University Career Fair.
Indiana State University, Terre Haute, Indiana
Bachelor of Science, Insurance, December 2016 (Expected)
Kevin attended the Fall 2014 Career Fair in search of internships. Kevin stated "I was pretty confident when I went to the Career Fair because I did a little research and looked at which companies would be there. After the career fair I had an on campus interview scheduled with one of the companies I met at the fair. I was very nervous about the interview until I scheduled a mock-interview at the Career Center. After completing the mock interview, my confidence went through the roof, and I was not as nervous."
Kevin had a positive experience at the Indiana State University Career Fair and was able to interview for and land an internship because of his early preparation.
- Meet and speak with over 100 employers and recruiters for Internship and Employment opportunities in a positive environment.
- Explore industries, companies, and jobs that you haven’t considered before.
- Employers are all in one place - it saves you time and effort.
- Gather tips and advice from employers that will make you a competitive and desired candidate.
From your resume to your conversation, these are skills and attributes employers are seeking:
- Leadership and teamwork experience
- Exceptional verbal and written communication skills
- Problem solving experience
- Your major – making sure you're a potential fit based on your degree program
- A candidate who knows what they’re looking for (full or part time employment, internship, etc.)
- First Impression – how you’re dressed, a friendly and likeable personality, confidence
- An understanding of the employer’s industry
Tips to impress employers at the fair:
- Research every company you plan on approaching at the fair
- Make sure your resume highlights any examples of leadership skills
- Put care into your appearance and maintain a confident, positive attitude
- Know what you’re looking for in your career and be able to discuss it
- Internship experience signals to employers that you can hit the ground running
- Be prepared to elaborate on your qualifications.
- Bring plenty of copies of your resume. Initiate a conversation with employers first; do not immediately hand them a copy of your resume.
Tips and advice:
- Establish a list of goals ahead of the career fair. Possible goals may include meeting at least 5 companies you've never met before or meeting all of the employers in the accounting or finance field.
- Keeping your mind on a goal will maintain focus throughout the event.
- Research who will be attending and make a list of who you want to speak with.
- Search the employers web presence by navigating to the company’s website, and any of their social media platforms.
- Practice a firm hand-shake and a solid introduction with good eye contact.
- Don’t monopolize the conversation or come on too strong – focus on how your skills can help these specific companies achieve their goals.
- Prepare your resume - Resumes should be one page long and should highlight your relevant and transferrable experiences and skills.
- Walk-in appointment - Visit the Career Center during our walk-in hours Monday through Friday 10:00am – 12:00pm and 1:00pm – 3:00pm to receive feedback on content, structure and format, typos, and grammar mistakes.
- At the fair, some employers might not collect resumes because of a different application process. Follow their instructions to apply as instructed by employers.
- Additional items to bring: padfolio, pens, and copies of your resume.
If you're unsure what appropriate fair-wear is after viewing our style guide, bring your career fair outfit into the Career Center to receive feedback from a career advisor.
The Career Center has a free clothing closet with a wide range of styles and sizes. Drop in and see us during our walk-in hours to view what items we have that you can wear to the career fair.
Fair-Wear for Women
- Two-piece business suit: Conservative, preferably in a dark color; pants or skirt (skirt hem should be no more than 2" above the knee and loose on your hips.) Leggings and short and/or tight skirts are not acceptable. If you do not have a formal business suit, wear dress pants, a nice blouse, jacket, or a nice sweater.
- Closed toe shoes: Solid dark color or black to match suit. Heels should be 2.5" or less; leather; good fit.
- Shirt or Blouse: White or ivory is preferable; conservative style with a good fit—not too tight; not sheer or low cut.
- Sheer hosiery: Skin color.
- Minimal jewelry: Conservative; pearls are suitable; no plastic or acrylic beads.
- Simple make up: Avoid bright or excessive make up—should look natural; soft shade of lipstick; mascara—no false lashes.
- Hair: Clean and styled off of the face.
Fair-Wear for Men
- Two-piece business suit: Black, dark blue, or gray; conservative in style, fully lined, good fit. If you do not have a formal business suit, wear dress pants, a button-down dress shirt, a jacket(if you have one), a belt, and nice shoes. Dress shirt: White or subtle solid color; button tabs or point collar; long-sleeved only.
- Dress shirt: White or subtle solid color; button tabs or point collar; long-sleeved only.
- Dress shoes: Polished; black or brown; no tassels.
- Dark socks: Black over the calf socks.
- Leather belt: Solid color that matches shoes; conservative buckle.
- Silk neck tie: Conservative design; bottom of tie should touch top of belt buckle.
- Minimal jewelry: Wedding ring or college ring only; no tiepins or clips; no pierced jewelry or chains.
- Hair: Clean and styled off of the face; facial hair should be groomed.
- An "elevator pitch," also known as your "commercial" or "marketing introduction," is a brief, thoughtfully prepared and practiced branding message about your professional self. Your pitch should go no longer than one minute.
- Focus on who you are and what you can do for the company, not what the company can do for you.
- Sample Elevator Pitch: Hi, my name is Joe Smith and I am a junior majoring in Communications with a concentration in Public Relations. I am also completing a certificate in nonprofit leadership and hope to work for a nonprofit organization after graduating. For the past year I have served as a Big Brother for the Big Brothers Big Sisters organization and completed 100 community service hours with my fraternity. I am currently looking for a summer internship in the nonprofit sector where I can combine my interest and experience of nonprofit organizations and my knowledge of public relations and communication.
- Ask the recruiter questions about open positions and the organization. Here are some questions to get you started: What types of training do new employees receive? What skills and attributes are you seeking in a candidate? What challenges and opportunities are associated with this position? What should I know about the application process? How does your organization give back to the community?
- Follow up with the companies and recruiters you talked with! When visiting with employers, ask for a business card from everyone you speak with. Take notes immediately after so you don’t forget anything that was discussed.
- Send thank-you letters within 24 hours. Letters should thank recruiters for their time and for visiting Indiana State University, highlight your strengths, demonstrate how you are a good fit for the organization and position, and mention something you talked about during your conversation. Thank-you emails are fine, but a hard-copy note is a nice touch!