Career Fair Prep: Applying for part, full-time, or internship positions

PREPARE TO ATTEND THE FAIR

  • Identify your field of interest and examine what skills you have that would be related.
  • Review the list of employers who will be present and make a list of the employers you find interesting. Use filters like your major, skills, position type, or interest area to narrow the list.
  • Create your 30-second pitch to be used in your introduction. 
  • Develop résumés for each field you are interested in and print multiple copies on résumé paper.
  • Research the organizations that are expected to attend the fair and integrate that knowledge into your questions. You will impress them with the initiative you took to research the organization’s mission, purpose, clients served, etc.
  • Buy/borrow an interview suit or outfit that makes you feel confident and comfortable. Business professional is the standard for most industries.
  • Buy/borrow a folder or carrying case to hold your résumés, keys, paper, pencil, and business cards so that your hands are free for handshakes.
  • Study the layout of the fair and be prepared to visit key employers. 
  • Have questions ready for employers. For example, if they direct you to the company’s website, ask if they have any suggestions for completing the online application (sample questions listed below).

 

EXCEL AT THE FAIR

  • Give employers what they are looking for: skills, confidence, be respectful.
  • Before entering the fair, take one more look in the mirror. If possible, check your bag and coat so you can focus on keeping your hands free.
  • Be conscious of the employer’s time, especially if there is a line behind you.
  • Do not be distracted by the employers give aways and gimmicks.
  • Display your name tag on your right side below your shoulder. The visual reminder will help some employers remember your name.
  • If you have to wait in a line to speak to employers, listen to others’ conversations. Use the information to make your questions even better.
  • Talk to employers who approach you. You don’t have to research all organizations attending in order to talk with an employer showing interest in you. 

 

POST FAIR TIPS

  • If you really enjoyed talking to an organization and you want them to remember you, consider sending a thank you email to follow-up on your conversation. Include a thanks, highlight your skills, remind them of what position you discussed, and highlight the next step (i.e. “I just submitted my application for XX position through your website as suggested. I really appreciate the time you took to explain the difference between the two XX programs. The information you provided confirmed that my communication, analytical, and previous client based experiences would be a perfect match.”).
  • Consider staying engaged with organizations by “following” them on LinkedIn or Twitter.
  • Visit the website of organizations you are interested in and register to receive alerts of openings (usually on the “Careers” part of their website). 
  • Find your organization of interest in Careers4Terps’ Employer Directory and click the “favorite star”. All events or positions the employer posts on Careers4Terps will appear under “Notification” located on the Home page of Careers4Terps.

 

SAMPLE QUESTIONS

The best questions initiate from a genuine interest. However, avoid questions related to benefits or salary (which can make you appear overly focused on what is in it for you). Focus on asking questions that allow you to gain inside information about the work culture or application process.

  • I read about the XX position online, but I was hoping to learn more about the day-to-day duties.
  • When is your anticipated start (or end) date for this summer internship?
  • What additional skills would make a candidate competitive for this position?
  • Can you walk me through the application process?
  • This full-time position sounds amazing. Has this position been vacant long? Did the previous employee advance within the organization?
  • How does this position interact with employees within the department and outside of it?
  • What do you enjoy about working with this organization?
  • I see you are a UMD alum, what undergraduate experiences did you find helpful in your job search?
  • After I apply online, what happens to my application material?
  • I am interested in two positions with your organization, should I apply separately for each of them or apply once and indicate interest in both?