Tips From Job Fair Recruiters

By: Kirsi

Typically I attend a job fair in a tizzy to find a summer internship. With a summer position already locked down, I was able to navigate the job fair in a calmer manner and get a unique perspective. At UMD’s E-Fest Job & Internship Fair, I asked recruiters from various engineering and tech companies for advice for students attending job fairs. They shared wisdom about communicating with recruiters and how to polish your resume.

layered pieces of white paper with the large text of "Tips from job fair recruiters"

Recruiter Communication Tips from Employers

Maintain good posture. Body language makes a difference.

Know why you are interested in the company. Do your research. Avoid canned compliments such as, “I’ve heard good things about you.”

Approach the employers like you are having a conversation rather than giving a speech.

Let your interests and personality shine. We look for the whole person.

Talk with companies even if you are not sure if they have any openings for your major. You may be surprised about what they need and what you can offer them.

Prepare an elevator speech. Give your name, major, what position you are looking for, and why you are interested in the organization.

Several students walking around dressed professionally

Resume Tips from Employers

Layout your resume in an organized chronological manner. Make your major clear on your resume.

Present your resume confidently when you introduce yourself. Don’t hide it!

Share your experiences effectively without being too wordy.

Show what clubs you got involved in on your resume. It helps to demonstrate that you have initiative and hands-on experience.

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Graphic Source: Unsplash | Brandi Redd
Photo Source: UMD Career & Internship Services

5 Tips for Preparing for a Job Fair

By: Kimberly

In February of 2017, I attended my first ever job fair. This fair had over 300 employers attending and hundreds of other potential applicants attending for the same reason as myself. My initial impression of attending this job fair was both overwhelming and extremely nerve-racking. But I didn’t have time to be worried about that, I had to prepare myself if I wanted to make a good first impression. If you’re wondering how I made it through the day, below are a few tips and tricks that successfully guided me!

#1 Attend Workshops
I can’t stress this enough, attend the workshops that are provided for you at no cost. You’d be surprised by what you will learn in these workshops. If it helps, bring a friend or two to tag along as well. These workshops will give you an opportunity to practice a handshake or two and give you critiques on your elevator speech before you make your appearance at the job fair. Typically, there is a wide range of workshops that are offered throughout the month of job fair season and or throughout the semester. Attending more than one can be very beneficial because each workshop focuses on different areas. Having developed the skills and experiences at these workshops can come in handy when you need them the most. If workshops aren’t your thing, you can meet with a career counselor one-on-one to cover this material.

#2 Review, Review, Review Your Resume
10 out of 10 of you are going to need a resume prepared prior to the job fair. It doesn’t necessarily guarantee you an internship or position, but it does show that you came prepared to obtain one. Avoid bringing an old resume that is outdated or hasn’t been edited. You don’t want to scramble around last minute trying to edit it because it’s not fun and very unprofessional. There are great resources like your Career and Internship Services office, on-campus for you to get your resume reviewed and polished just in time for the job fair. Don’t hesitate to go because they’re probably expecting you and more than willing to help review your resume with you. They’re also going to be the place you stop at afterward when you’ve secured an application or interview. Therefore, update your resume and make the stop.

5 tips for job fair preparation

#3 Plan Your Outfit
Your first impression is initially predetermined with how you dressed up for the job fair. With that said, look at your wardrobe at least a week or two in advance! It’s better to plan and prepare an outfit for the job fair because sometimes we might not find that shirt we “thought we had” or you accidentally misplaced one of your shoes. If you are unaware of what is an appropriate outfit for a job fair, ask the sales representative or a friend with experience and attend a workshop that discusses appropriate attire. Taking these additional steps to prepare will give you enough time to make a trip to the mall to grab what you need. You can also check out our Pinterest boards for ideas.

#4 Know Your Potential Employers
The majority, if not all employers really appreciate it when you’ve taken the time to learn about their company or organization. You might wonder, how will they know? Well, recruiters can determine that by your conversation. Therefore, take some time out of your day and designate it to researching information about organizations you plan on visiting. They certainly don’t expect you to memorize everything about them, but you should have an understanding of who they are. This also can help you generate some great questions in advance to ask recruiters because newsflash: they love questions! It shows your engagement and the interests you have. In addition to getting recruiters to know your work ethic, you also want to show that you want to know theirs too. On the flip side, this can also prepare your responses when recruiters ask you questions. It may not be as intense as an interview but having prepared thoughts never hurts anyone.

#5 Build Connections
Building connections at the job fair can be intimidating when you have hundreds of other students and individuals attending with the same purpose as you. It can be even more intimidating when you are more dressed up than usual and have to prepare what you’ll say in advance. Sometimes, it’s so intimidating that you eventually start to forget how to enjoy these conversations while connecting with others. Hence, it is helpful to take a deep breath and realize that this experience can be fun at the same time. Making a connection with others at the fair may consist of enjoyable conversations. Your conversations don’t have to feel limited or restrained. Bringing up a common interest or a story to connect with the recruiter can generate some great conversation topics. Lastly, don’t forget to embrace the moment and realize how you’ve already taken prior steps to prepare yourself for this moment.

Of Possible Interest: 

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Photo Source: Unsplash | Garrhet Sampson

First Time at a Career Fair: A Guide for First-Generation Students

By: Tony

A couple weeks ago, I attended the UMN Job and Internship Fair for the first time. To be completely honest, I was overwhelmed and terrified. I had been to other career fairs in the past, but the sheer size of this particular fair caught me off-guard. Unfortunately, the preparation I did beforehand was not enough to make me completely ready. Being a first-generation college student (neither of my parents have received a degree from a four-year university), I do not have many of the resources my peers do, and I have not always been aware of the resources available to me. If you’re also a first-generation student, you may be in the same boat as I was, and even if you aren’t a first-generation student, career fairs are likely still intimidating. After self-reflection and re-acquainting myself with the resources offered by Career and Internship Services, I have come up with a quick guide that will prepare you for what to expect at a career fair and inform you how to put yourself in the best position possible.

Do Your Homework
Most career fairs will at least give a list of the employers that will be tabling at the career fair on their website. If you’re lucky, the organizers will also be able to provide a brief overview of what each employer is looking for in terms of majors, career field, and type of position, whether it be an internship, part-time, or full-time. Regardless, you should look through the list of employers and select a few that look interesting to you. Once you have your list, familiarize yourself with each employer. What do they produce or what services do they provide? How big are they? What recent developments have they made? Their website will be your best friend, as you can gather a lot of information on them just by browsing what they have on their site. The purpose of this is to both get an idea of what working for them may be like, as well as building up knowledge that you can impress them with later. I would also recommend formulating a question or two about each company or organization to ask the employers.

Spruce Up Your Resume
Your resume is key. Not all employers may be able to take your resume due to their human resources policies, but they are multifunctional. I’ve used my resume and seen others use theirs to inform employers about themselves and their accomplishments. I have also seen employers use resumes to explain how the attendee would fit into their company or organization, given their knowledge, experience, and interests. One time, an employer even took my resume and said that he would look at it later and send me applications for job openings in his organization that I may be interested in.

Each version of your resume should be specifically tailored to the reason why you are making it, and job fairs are no different. In the typical job fair resume, the focus will be broader than it would be for a job or internship application resume. In this case, your objective will only be as specific as the industries or fields that you wish to work within. The rest of your resume will then demonstrate why you’re qualified to work in that industry or field.

Success at the career fair, a first-generation student's guide

Work On Your Elevator Speech
An elevator speech is a quick 30-second to one-minute pitch of you. You want the employer to get a good idea of who you are as a person and potential employee. You should talk about your:

  • Name
  • Grade level
  • Major/minor
  • Strengths
  • Relevant interests

I recommend practicing your elevator speech in front of a mirror or a partner. It will likely be part of the employer’s first impression of you, and you want to make sure it’s as smooth and natural as possible

Dress Appropriately
Today’s the day. Today might be your first time interacting with your future employer after you earn your degree, no pressure. But the question on your mind is, what should I wear? Although the specific dress code and work culture will vary from employer to employer, the safe bet is to dress business professional. What does that mean exactly? Here’s a resource with some good basic information. 

Travel in a Wolf Pack
Job fairs can be intimidating when going alone, so try to go with a group to ease the tension. Of course, you should generally interact with employers one-on-one, but the shared experience of a group can reduce stress and anxiety. Personally, I like when my girlfriend comes with me for moral support. She’s always great at it, and I highly recommend having the moral support of your own if you can.

The Approach
Here it is. Everything has come down to this. Now it’s time to put together all the pieces of the puzzle and knock it out of the park. When engaging with the employer, make sure to make eye contact and give a firm handshake. Introduce yourself with your elevator speech and express interest in learning more. After the employer has given more information, pose the question(s) you have prepared. Throughout the conversation, make sure to make eye-contact, be aware of your body language, and give non-verbal cues like nodding and smiling to show that you’re paying attention and interested in what they are saying. If they are accepting resumes, give one to them, and take business cards if they have them available. Also, make sure to take note of the names of the representatives there as that is information you can mention later in a cover letter. As you depart, say nice it was to meet them and give another firm handshake. There you go, you’re done! That wasn’t too bad, right? Now go do it some more.

On-site Research
What if you see an employer that you are interested in, but are unprepared to talk with them? Fear not, you can still do some quick research on your phone so you don’t have to talk to them with little to say. Usually, there will be a student lounge where you can do this research (and relax) away from the employers.

Networking, Networking, Networking
A major component of career fairs outside of talking to employers is to talk with your peers. Networking sounds complicated, but all it entails is getting to know others and talking about your interests and goals. As the saying goes, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” The bigger your network, the better your chances are a getting more resources and professional opportunities.

Hopefully, this advice will help you become better prepared for job fairs other career development events. I wish you the best of luck, and never hesitate to ask for assistance if you need it.

Of Possible Interest: 

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Photo Source: Unsplash | RawPixel

What Employers Want You to Know at the Job Fair

By: McKenzie

Editor’s Note: McKenzie recently attended a C&IS student employee training featuring a panel of employers who regularly recruit UMD students. Here is what she learned.

Navigating job fair season can be a nerve-wracking and stressful time. Even seasoned pros get the jitters about all the career-related possibilities a job fair has in store. However, what if there was a way to ease the nerves? Turns out you are in luck because there is, in fact, a way to take on this task.

What employers want you to know at the job fair

Do Your Research
Employers unanimously agree knowing a thing or two about the company is completely awesome. It shows initiative and genuine interest in the company. When recruiters know you have an interest in the company, the conversation becomes more worthwhile and you can get better insight because of the questions you ask.

Ask Questions
If you have done your research then this one is a no-brainer. Trust me, recruiters have been giving the same spiel about their company all day so changing it up a little bit can go a long way. Not only does it help you learn more detailed information about the company, it also allows employers to gauge opportunities which may best fit you.

Recruiters Can’t Always Take Your Resume
This is a big one! I have heard it from recruiters myself. They may not be able to take your resume and this can be really confusing for students. Some recruiters can work with your resume to help you find matching jobs within the company, but even if they take your resume it does not guarantee you a position. Most companies have an online system they use for applications now so it is important to make sure you communicate with recruiters to learn the best ways to apply for opportunities in their company.

Fill Out the Entire Application
Although you may not apply for jobs online at the job fair, it is still important to remember to fill out their application completely. Many applicants do not fill out an online application to its full extent or put information such as, “see resume” and this is a really great way to end up at the bottom of the list of applicants. Be sure to fully answer questions on applications, even if it is the millionth job you have applied for today. Companies will not ask questions if they are not interested in the answer.

Dress For the Job You Want
It’s the age-old saying, “Dress for the job you want, not the one you have,” and it still tends to ring true. If you are attending the job fair to work in a business where you are expected to dress business casual daily then it would be in your best interest to dress for the job. It never hurts to set a good first impression.

Job hunting can feel scary, but it’s not. If you come to the job fair prepared with a plan then you are in for some smooth sailing. Whether it is your first time at fair or your last time, it is better to be there than not. You have already shown your interest by being present so get on it and get out there.

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STEM Major Preps for UMN Job Fair

By: Kirsi

Student talking with employer at job fair

I missed UMD’s E-Fest, UMD’s STEM Fair, and UMN’s College of Science and Engineering Fair. I still want a summer internship. WHAT SHOULD I DO?!

Despite lacking “STEM” in the name, UMN’s Job and Internship Fair is an excellent place to land a technical summer internship.

UMN Job & Internship Fair with Minnesota Map

 1) Excused Absence
I know, Monday, the worst day the Fair could happen. I panicked too with a sinking feeling that I would need to request excused absences from my professors. Here is an example email…

“Hello,
I would like to attend the U of MN Job & Internship Fair in the Twin Cities on Monday, February 26th. This would require missing our mandatory attendance lecture and quiz. Would attendance of this Job Fair qualify for an excused absence? I can either take the quiz before this day or the next during your office hours.
Other students in your classes may be busing down to the Cities too as it is the last major job fair before the summer.
Thanks”

2) Register
Since we all earn UMN diplomas, in the end, all UMN system students are invited to attend the fair. Luckily for us UMD students, there is a free bus that can transport us to the fair (and back if desired). To reserve a place on the bus sign up at Solon Campus Center 22 with a $10 deposit (which gets refunded the day of the fair).

If you pre-register for the fair on GoldPASS you get a free professional photo and a free box lunch!

3) Find Employers
With logistics locked down, time to focus the job fair day game plan. First I found the list of employers who will be recruiting. Use filters to sort what positions are open. Readjust filters if no results are found. Not all employees include which majors/ industries they are looking for.

After reviewing the list of employers, there were obvious tech companies that stood out such as Honeywell and Ziegler CAT. However, there are companies that don’t look high-tech on the outside that are in major need of “STEM-pertise” such as Target Corporation and Hormel Foods. Once you have chosen your top employers get acquainted with them by; looking on their website, connecting with them on LinkedIn, and Google sort for related news stories.

There is a mobile guide for the UMN Job Fair your can download to plan your day.

  1. Download the U of MN App for Apple or Android (it’s free!).
  2. Once downloaded, Search for “job”.
  3. Select “University of Minnesota Job & Internship Fair 2018” and explore!

List of companies recruiting for computers and tech

4) Your Job Fair Equipment
Build a resume. Print plenty of copies. Check for simple spelling and grammar errors.
Pick out an outfit. De-wrinkle your clothes. Smell hygienic.
Practice elevator speech. Seriously. Practice what you’re going to say.
Practice interview questions. Practice technical and coding interviews.

5) Stay Up To Date!
Follow University of Minnesota Job and Internship Fair on…
Facebook, Instagram, Twitter
Hint…leading up to the Fair you can find Industry graphics, like the Computers & Tech one above, being released each day on the Fair’s social media accounts.

Good luck!

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First Time Experience at the Job Fair

By: Kimberly

Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock. Time is ticking and every time the hand on my watch moved it seemed more surreal that in just a few minutes I would be at the job fair. In my right hand, I had a folder with twenty resumes I prepared to distribute to as many recruiters as possible and in my left hand, I held tightly onto hope. Hope for a variety of reasons; hopefully, I am successful today, hopefully, I land an internship, hopefully, I am different from the hundreds of other students and hope because I need it.

As I entered the building and quickly got myself signed-in, I made my name badge and wore it trying to contain the cold chills running through my hands. I had thousands of thoughts running through my mind such as, “What if I’m not as good as anyone else here?”, “What if I forget my elevator speech?”, “Don’t make a fool out of yourself!”, and it continued. Despite these thoughts, I managed to remind myself that like any other obstacles I had faced in life, I will conquer.

Immediately you could hear tons of voices from conversations between students and recruiters or students socializing among themselves. I quickly took a second to negotiate a deal with myself; I promised to stop stalling time after a quick tour of the entire job fair. During this tour, most of the of the recruiters I walked past were waving to students and welcoming them with a “hello,” and some even tried to engage in a conversation with you to attract you towards their booth. Students were offering their resumes and portraying emotions of excitement, eagerness, and confidence. Towards the end of my tour, I realized many of these recruiters weren’t so scary after all and it was time to take initiative. I also recalled a great tip I received to help burn off my nerves, speak with an organization that I wasn’t interested in yet, I wouldn’t be nearly as disappointed if I failed miserably.

Overall, after several conversations, I learned that many recruiters were eager to speak with students and were most likely going to be alumni from yours or another familiar university/college. They were immensely interested in hearing about what I was currently involved in, where my passion was, and the reasons why I pursue what I do. In addition to recruiters sharing with me about their position and what they do for the organization, they were sharing great pieces of advice. For example, when to look out for internships within my area, who I could reach out to specifically, and what they had in store for students with my major.

Kimberly & Crew UMJF 17
Kimberly (2nd from left) and fellow UMD students at the University of Minnesota Job & Internship Fair.

After meeting with every organization on my list I ended my day at the fair by heading to the student lounge area for a brief evaluation of everything I accomplished. I reflected on each of the conversations I had while actively jotting down notes. Although it was hard to believe, I was quite surprised at how fast the day went by and at the number of recruiters I spoke with. It was a great feeling knowing I made some awesome connections with a few recruiters. I couldn’t wait to add them on LinkedIn or send them a follow-up email, sometime on Monday.

Now, let me remind you that I attended workshops to develop a good elevator speech/pitch, spent days working on improving my resume by getting it reviewed by others, and researched the organizations’ backgrounds prior to the job fair day. All this effort I put in prior to the fair prepared me with the skills and knowledge to engage in these conversations. If I had not spent that amount of effort and time into preparing I know my first-time experience at the fair would have been disappointing. I strongly recommend to anyone who is attending a job fair whether it’s your first time or not – you need to put in effort preparing yourself before going. Like the saying, “You only get out what you put in.”, although cliché it is very true. The second piece of advice I would offer is, speak with passion. Besides telling them what is already on your resume, give them something that showcases the “why” behind everything on your resume. Lastly, enjoy your time at the fair, it is a great way to also network with other students.

Of Possible Interest: 

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Social Media Squad at the UMN Job Fair

By: Tori

UMN Job Fair Logo_2017

We’re back from running social media at the U of M Job Fair! And what a successful event it was!

My co-peer educator, David, and I headed down to the Minneapolis Convention Center on Friday, February 24th to assist with showing students what the largest job fair in all of Minnesota was truly like. Check out the videos we posted on Facebook.

David & Tori UMJF

Lounge Tweet

Even though job fair season may be over, we have some great tidbits of advice from students and employers at the UMN Job Fair to share with students back on our home campus of UMD (Go Bulldogs!)

In Preparation: 

Tori & UMD Student UMJF

A UMD Mechanical Engineering student (above) shared advice on how to professionally prepare for the fair by: “Reviewing your resume and purchasing a portfolio. You’ll always win points with those two things!”

“Research the employers going to the fair by using the job fair app. That way you will know who employers are AND where they are located at the fair. You won’t have to look around and be distracted trying to find employers.”- Kimberly, Peer Educator at UMD Career and Internship Services (2nd from left in photo below).

Kimberly & Friends UMJF

At the Fair: 

“Take a look at how long the lines are, talk to other employers first to practice, then go to your top choices and dream jobs.”- PJay, Front Desk Student Assistant at the UMD Career and Internship Services.

Sadie Instagram

Sadie (above), a Front Desk Student Assistant in our office gave us her favorite tip while at the fair: “Collect business cards from every employer you talk to & follow-up.”

“Do a lap, know where things are. Be yourself! Dive in! Just go for it!”- UMN Student

Employers also offered advice to students at the Job Fair:

UMJF Employer Collage

“Research companies and apply for open positions before the fair, and then come say hello!”

Employer Resume Advice: “Keep it looking clean and easy to read by utilizing bullet points, bolded letters, customized headers, and formatting that flows.”

When approaching employers, “Confidence is key to standing out.”

“Don’t be shy, ask critical questions, be curious!” and remember, “It’s your time to interview us (employers) too!”

I hope this advice is helpful to you as you begin preparing for your next job fair, interview, or interaction with an employer! It’s okay to be nervous and not know what to expect, but use the resource you have to take the next steps.

Check out these social media sites for more information and tips from the UMN Job Fair:

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