Making the Most of Career Fair (by Year!)

We can all agree that Career Fair is a bit overwhelming. Hundreds of booths and even more students dressed in suits, cradling leather portfolios and resumes on professional-grade paper. Yikes! I’m here to help you make the most of your experience, whether you’re a brand-new first-year or a senior on a job hunt. Keep reading: advice from a business major to follow.

First-Years

I cannot recommend enough that you check out Career Fair your first year. Even if you don’t have a resume (?? Get on that!), and you aren’t looking for an internship, go! Experiencing the event will prepare you for when you come back with more serious intentions in the following years. 

Pro tip: The Center for Career Exploration & Success provides a first-year/first-time friendly table. Students new to Career Fair can participate in a “behind the scenes” tour. They will have a special table at Career Fair check-in and a Career Center staff member will guide you around the event. This happens every half hour from 1-4:30pm. Professional attire is not required (but highly recommended by this seasoned Career Fair vet)!

Second-Years

Your second year is one of the best to go to Career Fair. You have more experience after completing a full year at Miami, but you probably don’t absolutely need an internship – so there isn’t a ton of pressure. However, the biggest challenge you’ll face is finding employers who want to hire sophomores. You probably won’t be turned away and some may even take your resume, but you want to be more productive with your time at Career Fair. 

Pro tip: create a Handshake account through Miami. On the events page, you will find Miami University Spring Career & Internship Fair 2020. Not only can you see each employer and where they are located, but you’ll be able to see what years (and majors!) they’re hiring. 

Third-Years

Career Fair is your time to shine. Before the event, make sure you go on Handshake and do your homework. Come in with a game plan – have a list of companies you want to talk to, know the position they’re offering that you’re interested in, and have at least two questions to ask to each.

Pro Tip: Take advantage of the programs the Career Center has to offer! You will feel much more confident if you schedule a mock interview or attend a resume lab. Even better – it’s free. Total no-brainer.

Fourth-Years

I totally get it, pressure is ON. Don’t panic! The best way for you to make the most of your time at Career Fair is with practice and a set plan. Don’t cast a wide net while you’re at the event – come with 4-5 companies that you have researched and can truly see yourself working for after graduation. Having quality conversations and asking the recruiter relevant, authentic questions will serve you much better than walking around trying to pitch yourself to every booth. Print your resume on professional paper, keep a sheet of notes for each company in a portfolio or folder, and have intention for each conversation you initiate. Your genuine interest in becoming a part of the company will shine through! Keep in mind what each recruiter is evaluating: leadership potential, confidence, and professionalism.

Pro Tip: Schedule a mock interview at the Career Center, practice, and come in feeling self-assured. 

Career Fair doesn’t have to be a nerve-wracking experience. By taking the time to prepare and plan, you will already be ahead of the game. Use Handshake to get some research done, poke around LinkedIn to learn about job opportunities, and make sure that resume is updated! 

Final checklist:

  • Resume in hand?
  • No stains on your shirt? 
  • Elevator pitch ready to go?

Every person you’ll meet has been where you are now. We are rooting for you. Yes, you! You got this. Go for it.