Tuesday, September 21, 2010

A Different Way to Approach the Career Fair

It’s Career Fair time again!

Our Fall Career Fair will be held next week, Wednesday, Sept. 29 from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. in the AMU Ballrooms. We are very excited to have 140 organizations registered for the fair which means there are a lot of opportunities for students in all majors looking for internships, full-time positions, post-graduate volunteer opportunities and co-ops. Career Fair guides will be available in the AMU and in our office by the end of the week and we will be critiquing resumes in the AMU this week and next week. You can also do a search now for employers who are attending on MU Career Manager.

The MU CSC encourages all students in all years and all majors to attend career fairs to explore different careers and learn about job and internship opportunities. We often hear from students that they don’t see the value of attending the career fair if they don’t see their major or a position they want to do listed in the guidebook. As a Communication major myself a few years ago (ha!), I understand why students say this, but look at a career fair as a way to network with professionals who work at organizations that you are interested in, even if it's not your dream job. For example, communication employers do not often participate in formal on-campus recruiting programs (for a variety of reasons), but that does not mean these companies are not looking to hire for these types of positions. Every organization either has a communication department or outsources this work. Identify companies that you are interested and ask them if they can help you connect with someone in their organization who does what you want to do.

While I have your attention, keep in mind there are three things to think about when you are preparing for a career fair; first is preparation and research, second is how to work the fair and third is how to follow up after the fair. For more information, check out our navigating a career fair handout on our website:

Some quick career fair tips:

1. Put together a professional outfit; a suit is best.

2. Bring 10-20 copies of your resume. Keep in mind that some employers will be unable to take your resume, but will instead direct you to apply online.

3. Do your research before the fair; know which employers you want to talk to.
Make an A, B and C list so you can get organized.

4. Know your career goal or what you think you might like to do and say that
Ex. “I am looking for an entry level marketing position where I can
strengthen my interpersonal and marketing skills."

5. ALWAYS follow through on what the employers tell you to do (ex. Apply
online, sign up for an on-campus interview on MU Career Manager, etc.) and
send them a thank you note (email or hand written) to follow up.

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