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.

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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.

RESEARCH 

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.  

DRESS TO IMPRESS!

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.

THE ICE-BREAKER

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!  

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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.

Screenshot_2015-09-08-10-16-30

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.

Screenshot_2015-09-09-08-20-35

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.

IMG_0038

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.

Screenshot_2015-09-09-08-40-02

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!

Screenshot_2015-09-09-08-42-36

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!

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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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