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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Dating at the Job Fair: Wooing Employers

By: David

With Valentine’s day approaching and job fair season ongoing, today’s post will be juxtaposing the two notions dating and job fair recruiting. Sadly, I will not be giving tips and advice for finding your soulmate at the job fair. After attending several job fairs, I have come to see many similarities between the two and figured it would be fun to highlight a few similarities and differences for this hectic time of job recruiting season.


Similar to Facebook stalking, it is important to research your intended company before the initial meet. (Disclaimer: I do not condone any FB stalking behavior). When finding a romantic partner, the new method in today’s day and age is the art of Facebook stalking which allows people to see and maybe know more about that individual (depending on privacy settings of course). Similar to dating, it is always important to “stalk” your intended company to further find more information the company might have because in the end you always want to be prepared to be able to talk about certain things and ask and answer any questions the other party might have for you. The only catch is that it is okay for you to go above and beyond with questions for job fair recruiters but not potential partners. For instance, it is okay for you to talk about specific aspects and details about the company and work ethic. On the flipside, please refrain yourself from talking about your potential partner’s cousin who is newly engaged.  


One thing I can not stress enough for both job fairs and dating is to dress to impress! Ideally, it would be fantastic if people did not judge us and could accept us for our great personalities and skill sets, but that’s not always the case. The idea here is not always to physically attract the opposing party (though it can be), but rather it just shows the other party that you are willing to invest your time and effort for them specifically. For job fairs, one absolute criteria is professional dress attire. This is important because it establishes a sense of credibility by expressing your professional side by presenting yourself in a well-poised manner. In terms of dating, it’s nice to show that you invested time and effort to present yourself for the other party in a fashionable manner. Overall, whether it be for professional or personal reasons, it never hurts to dazzle the opposing party by dressing up. For ideas of what to where you can check out our Pinterest boards for women and men.


Whether it be the dating scene or the professional field, one of the most common thing that happens to me is preparing myself to talk to the other party with confidence, but ending up not doing so. My outfit looks sharp, I feel fabulous, and I have the entire conversation scripted in my head. When it comes down to the wire, I instantly freeze, lose all my confidence, and run away to reevaluate my life and my approach. Trust me, it happens all the time! Over the years, I have learned that the biggest obstacle to overcome is the icebreaker. Being creative, personable, and NOT awkward is a difficult task to do for most of us, but is perfected through time. Whether it be the elevator speech for job fairs or a pickup line for a romantic interest, the icebreaker approach is one skill that can definitely be mastered.

All in all, the juxtaposition between dating and job fairs is quite similar when comparing the two. Despite the experience level in either field, it is always a great learning experience to get out there and actually experience the process of job recruiting and dating. Whether it be for professional purposes or romantic reasons, there are key ideas that definitely overlap between the two notions that can be applicable even in other areas as well. Hope you all enjoyed today’s post and look forward to a part II in the far future! Good luck with job fair season and dating (if you are looking for someone) and hopefully you can apply skills from one field to another to increase your odds in your desired goal. Happy trails and as always, stay gold!  

Of Possible Interest: 

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U of M Guidebook and Career Fairs

By: Logan

In our age of technology, our University is finding more advanced ways of providing services to its students. In a previous post last spring, I introduced the University of Minnesota Guidebook app. I talked a little about what you can do with it and how you can get it, but that just scratched the surface of what this app can all do for students. In this post I will go deeper into the app and talk about how you can use it to help yourself prepare for the job fair season. I will explain how to navigate the app and how to use all of the services it provides.

It is now September, and we all know what that means. It is career fair season! During this time we have multiple career fairs students can attend to meet with potential employers and make business connections. Our two largest career fairs are the E-Fest Career Fair (on September 16th) for Science, Computer Science, & Engineering students and Head of the Lakes Job & Internship Fair (which is on October 8th). Our office works hard to get the word out about these fairs and we encourage as many people to go to them as possible. But simply going to the career fair isn’t enough, students need to know how to act at the fair, what to do to prepare, and what to do after the fair. This is where the University of Minnesota Guidebook app comes in handy. In this app you can search through the different career fairs that are happening soon. You can simply search “Head of the Lakes Job & Internship Fair” and you will find the guide. If you are having trouble finding it, you can come into the Career & Internship Services Office (SCC 22) and scan the code on our posters and it will automatically download the guide for you. Once you have downloaded the guide for the fair you can begin to do some research.


Before going to any career fair you will want to do a bit of background research. You should know who will be at the fair, who you plan on talking to, and what you will say. The U of M Guidebook app can help you will all of these. The app lists all of the employers who will be attending the fair.


If you click on one of the companies you can see all sorts of information on the company. It gives the company website; a small description of what they do and who they are; lists of positions available, majors and degrees they are looking for, position types, and even if they  are interviewing on-campus.


While looking at companies you can add notes. This can be helpful because you can write down any questions you might have for them and/or information you don’t want to forget after you’ve talked to them at the fair. You can also add employers to a “to-do” list (See the above photo where “Add to To-do” is listed at the bottom). This will populate the “Employers to Visit” portion of the app. Then you’ll have a list of the 10 companies you actually want to visit out of the 90 who are at the career fair.


This app will supply you with all the information you will ever need on any of the companies. This is helpful because you can read a bit about what they do and what they are looking for. This way when you meet the recruiters at the career fair you can display you knowledge of the company and you can already have questions ready for them.

This app has many other great features that can help you out during your next career fair. You can go under the “Connect” section and see who has checked in at the fair. You can also find out when information sessions and on-campus interviews are happening. My favorite part about this app is if you go to the “Prepare for the Fair” section it has pages of tips and tricks for you at the job fair. It has notes on what to do before the fair, arriving at the fair, approaching the employer, talking with the employer, following up, and more!


This app help you organize your experience and can even give you tips on how to be more professional. I think all students can benefit from this app, even if they are not attending the fair. And the best part about the app: It’s 100% free! So use this revolutionary tool the next time you are thinking about attending a fair!

Of Possible Interest: 

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Two Biggest Tips for Attending a Large Job Fair: Learned First Hand!

By: Glen

In February of each year, the University of Minnesota hosts its largest job fair. With approximately 300 employers present, it is a sight to behold. Students and recent alumni from each U of M campus are welcome. As someone who was attending this event for the first time, I was sure to have a learning experience. Below you will find my two biggest takeaways from the day.

UM Job Fair

Manage Your Time

When the UMD bus arrived at the fair, we were given about 3.5 hours to meet with employers. I figured this was going to be plenty of time to meet with the 11 employers I planned to approach. By the end of the first hour and a half, I realized I was wrong. I had two hours to eat lunch and meet with the second half companies on my list. I was not lolly-gagging, so what was going on? Since the fair was so large, most companies had a line of people talking with them. Even if it was a small line, it took the length of a discussion with each person in front of me to arrive at the front of the line.

Enjoy Yourself

When I arrived to the front of the line, I took my time with each employer. Do not be in a hurry, as the recruiter will probably notice this demeanor and be unappreciative. Even on a time crunch, I dedicated myself to each and every conversation, not only telling the recruiters what I was interested in, but contributed to wherever the conversation took us. I left every single conversation feeling very confident because I legitimately had fun talking to people about future opportunities.

There are plenty of other good job fair tips out there. I wanted to focus more on the lessons I learned from my experience at the U of M Job & Internship Fair in February of 2015. If you are looking for advice for preparing for the job fair, making conversation at the job fair, what recruiters think about resumes at the job fair, or even what to wear at the job fair, check out the other job fair themed blog posts written by our peers by clicking here!

Photo source

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What Now?! A Simple Guide for After the Job Fair

By: David

Alright, so now that you’ve attended the job fair you might be clueless as what to do now. I know that lost feeling all too well, but lucky for you this blog post will be highlighting some tips and advice on how to follow up with employers and recruiters after the job fair. The majority of these tips are briefly touched on in one of our handouts, “Checklist For Job Fair Success.” Hope it helps and enjoy!

After the Job Fair

The first thing you should always do is connect with recruiters on LinkedIn. If you don’t have a LinkedIn account, GET ONE! Sorry, I don’t mean to yell, but I just want to emphasize the importance of LinkedIn. It’s pretty much Facebook for the professionals (NOTE: the “professionals.” You, my friend, are now a professional). You can see all of our posts on LinkedIn here to really get your profile built. Since we’re on the topic of social media already, the next thing you can do is personally connect with the company on Twitter or Facebook. The chances are slim to great depending on the company itself whether they will actually have a social media account. If all else fails, you can feel free to connect with recruiters on their professional Twitter/Facebook account. Here’s more information on using social media in your job search.

After connecting with recruiters on social media, the next best thing would be to send personal thank you letters and resumes to the specific recruiter whom you spoke with and from there you can begin the application/inquisition process. This should be done three business days after your initial meeting with the recruiter. When contacting the recruiter, always make sure you use proper email etiquette to keep things professional. Check out this article on for the essential tips. After 10 days have passed from the first meeting, make the first call to determine if employers have reviewed your application, check vacant positions, and to display your deep interest in the company. This might seem kind of overboard, but it shows initiative and your desire to work with a  specific company over other candidates.

Overall, you should always keep a log of accurate records of when and where you met recruiters, when you sent letters and resumes, important contacts, and any additional important information that might benefit you in the long run. Also, make sure when you reach out to other representatives, you mention names of specific recruiters of whom you met at the fair within your cover letter. Within the cover letter, you can talk about your interaction and conversation with the recruiter, or any interesting anecdotes.

All in all, it’s always important to maintain connections with recruiters. Even if there aren’t any current opportunities for you, there may be a chance that you’ll get a position down the line. One important thing I would like to stress is professionalism. To some extent, it’s always nice to have the personal and casual aspect to the conversation, but try to keep your formalities until you actually get the job. You want to keep your professional image clean and classy. I hope this helps you all with your adventures of finding a job or internship in the near future. Best of luck to you all and as always, stay gold folks!

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University of Minnesota App – Access to the Job Fair in the Palm of Your Hand

By: Logan

When preparing for a job & internship fair, one should try and use all of the resources available. You can find a lot of great information about all the fairs on the Career and Internship Services’s website. Here you can see what fairs are happening, when and where, and a brief description of who will be there. But some people might want more information than that. What if someone wanted to see specifically what companies will be at the fair? Or what if someone wanted to know where at the fair a certain company will have its table? If you are someone who is interested in learning more about the fairs, then you will probably enjoy this new tool that can be used by any University of Minnesota student. This is a relatively new app called University of Minnesota. This revolutionary app will make researching a job & internship fair much more simple and enjoyable. This app can do many things that a normal website cannot do, and I think that this app will help many students who will be attending a fair.

Screen Shot 2015-02-13 at 1.36.53 PM

So who can benefit from this app? The answer is: everyone who attends a University of Minnesota school. This app can be used by students at the Duluth, Twin Cities, Morris, Crookston, and Rochester campuses. You can find the University of Minnesota app in the Apple Store or Android Market and it is free to download.


When you first download and open the app you will need to choose a guide. This is where you choose the job & internship fair you are interested in or other activities going on through the University.

Guides in Guidebook

Once you choose a guide you have access to all of the features the app offers. There are multiple options to explore. There is the general section, where it basically gives you an overview of the fair or activity that you chose. It tells you the date, time, location, rating, and a small bio explaining who the fair is for. There is a tab for how to register. Here it tells you where you need to go to register, how much it will cost, and other information regarding disability accommodations and fees. One of my favorite things about the app is the “Prepare for the Fair” button. Here you can read tips on what to do before and during the fair. It gives you tips on what you should do to prepare, how to act and present yourself while at the fair, and it provides you with multiple links and more information on career fairs and the job search.

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One of the most useful aspects of the app is the “Employers at the Fair” section. Here it lists every single company recruiting at the fair. You can select an employer and read more about them. It provides a bio about the company, positions they have available, majors they are interested in, job categories, work authorization, and their policy on interviews and resumes. I think that this section is one of the best in the app because you can quickly and easily research companies you are interested in, and it has all the information you need to prepare for the job fair. If you happen to find an employer you are interested in and want to remember, down at the bottom of the screen there is an “Add to To-Do” button. You can add employers to this To-Do list, and it saves them for you. Once you go through and select which companies you are interested in, there is a button in the menu that says “Employers I Added.” This is where all of the companies are saved when you add them to the To-Do list. When you go to the fair and visit these employers you can actually check them off in your “Employers I Added” section. This will ensure that you do not skip or forget about any companies you want to visit.

Cargill Info

Also when looking at a company you can choose to “Add New Note.” So if you have any notes that you would like to remember about a certain company, you can write them and have access to them at any time. This could be a very useful tool in many ways. You can use it to write down possible questions you might have, or after you visit with the company you can make a note saying what you liked or disliked about your interaction with the company.

App Notes

This app contains many other helpful tools. It shows a map of the fair you are attending in detail. It also shows the exact location in the venue of every employer who will be attending. This way you can plan out your day and you can make sure that you can always find an employer that you are looking for.


There is also information on transportation, social media, and your school’s Career Services Office. Overall, this app is very useful and very informative. I think that the University of Minnesota app will help many students who are attending the job fair. I hope that many students take advantage of this informative app because it really can help a lot with job fair preparation. So if you know someone who will be attending a job fair soon, or you will be attending one as well, be sure to download this app and be one step ahead of the competition.

Of Possible Interest: 

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