It’s the spring semester and aside from very cold, snowy walks across campus, there’s one thing on everyone’s minds — finding a job! Whether you’re about to graduate and looking to start your career, or searching for a great summer internship, everyone is facing the obstacle of making connections and getting hired.

Luckily for us, MSU offers an abundance of opportunities to meet with future employers at annual career fairs. There is a career fair for everyone – whether you are majoring in engineering, business, communication, packaging, or any of the other great programs on campus, there is an event for you!

Career fairs can be pretty intimidating. It’s scary speaking to new people, especially when you’re eager to leave a good impression. However, you can eliminate or at least decrease this fear by being as prepared as possible. After speaking with a few students who are career fair veterans, I was able to compile a list of tips that can help you prepare for any career fair or interview you have this spring.

  1. Come prepared

Before you attend a career fair, research all of the companies who are attending. You can find a list of companies attending each career fair on Handshake ahead of time. This will allow you to know which companies you are the most interested in and to think of specific questions you may want to ask the recruiters. This is the best way to impress the people you speak with, because it shows a genuine interest in their work.
You should also create a 30 second speech about who you are and any skills or experience you have. This short introduction will give the recruiters a glimpse of who you are and give them some topics to easily continue the conversation.
Carnegie Melon University has a great step-by-step guide on how to write an “elevator pitch” as well as examples that you can use as a guide.

  1. Bring resumes to hand out to employers

The best way to highlight your qualifications is with a professional resume. Most people will print off about ten copies of their resume to hand out as they meet with recruiters.
My secret is to make personalized resumes for the companies you really want to work for, and a few generic ones in case you speak with someone who you weren’t expecting to meet with. Recruiters love to see how committed and interested you are in their company and a resume that is crafted just for them will set you apart from the other students they meet.
Need help creating a resume? Check out these tips.

  1. Dress to impress

You want to make a good first impression, and the best way to do so is to dress professionally. Business attire will show you have planned ahead for the event and will demonstrate that you are serious about finding a position. Students I spoke with recommended you wear plain colors and no prints. Most men choose to wear a button up shirt, a blazer, nice dress pants and dress shoes – no sneakers! Women usually wear a variety of dress pants and skirts with blouses or a nice dress.

  1. Take notes!

One of the most important things you can do at a career fair is to take notes on what you learn. Bring a pen and paper (many people like padfolios because they come with a built-in notepad as well as somewhere to put business cards you receive and a folder for your resume) and write down tips and information that you hear around you. You might have an amazing conversation with a recruiter or maybe you will speak to another student while waiting in line who gives you great advice. Do not focus too much on taking notes while speaking with a recruiter, but try to remember as much as you can after the conversation and write it down then. It is much better to be present and active in a conversation than trying to write down everything they say.

  1. Follow up

You had an amazing conversation with a recruiter, gave them your resume and got their business card, so what do you do now? Send a follow up email! Recruiters will meet hundreds of students each day and it may be likely that they forget who you are after they see another 100 students. The best way to stay fresh in their mind is to send them an email shortly after. This is where your notes come in handy. Always thank them for speaking with you and reference something memorable from your meeting. It is also a good idea to include an electronic version of your resume as well so that they do not have to search for yours in the pile they received that day.

All of these tips are great ways to feel a bit more prepared for your upcoming career fair experience. Being prepared will help you approach your interactions with confidence, which is how you will make recruiters remember you! My last tip is that even if you aren’t looking for an internship or job right now, attend a career fair anyways. It will make you more comfortable with the process which will make a huge difference when it is the real deal.

For a full list of upcoming career events, visit the MSU Career Services Network website!




Melissa Linden is a senior majoring in Communication and minoring in Public Relations. She currently works at OISS as the Communications Intern and is PR Chair for the Korean Student Association on campus. When not hard at work you can find her spending time with her dog. You can contact Melissa at

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s