Q: My major is not in business, can I attend the fair?
A: Yes. The fair is open to everyone.
Q: I did not graduate from IU South Bend, can I attend the fair?
A: Yes. The fair is open to everyone.
Q: Why apply for a job in October if I do not graduate until May?
A: The hiring process for many employers, especially large ones, take several months. Applying now helps improve your chances of having a job in May. Ask employers about their hiring timeline.
Q: I'm not a senior, why should I go to the fair?
A: Several employers will be offering internships. Students who have completed internships are more likely to get a job after graduation, according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers. Even if your academic major does not require it, you should do at least one internship.
Another reason to attend the career fair is to learn more about long-term career paths. This is especially good for freshmen and sophomores. Tell the employer at the table you are a freshman or sophomore and ask their advice on what you can do now to work in their field after graduation.
Q: I have class during the fair, should I miss it?
A: Not without asking your professor for permission, in advance. Some professors may make the fair a required assignment, or offer extra credit for attending. When you check in, we will note that you attended the fair. We will then verify your attendance with professors who request confirmation.
Do not assume your professor will or will not approve your request to miss class—ask your professor at least a week in advance of the fair and follow what he or she says.
Q: How long should I plan to be here?
A: Give yourself as much time as you can. The more time you invest the more opportunities you may find. Make the most of your time by creating identifying, in advance, employers offering jobs/internships that interest you. Prioritize the list. At the fair, visit employers starting with your lowest priority employer to your highest priority employer. That way when you meet your highest priority employer, you’ve already rehearsed what to say. If you are short on time, do the opposite.
Q: Do I have to dress up?
A: Business attire displays professionalism that employers want to see in candidates. Dressing professionally also says to an employer that you take the job search seriously. The more professional you look, the better a first impression you will make. Visit the Dress for Success page for more information.
Q: How should I present myself?
A: Be confident and polite when approaching an employer. Give a firm (but not crushing) handshake, maintain eye contact and be knowledgeable about the company. Display your knowledge by asking good questions of the employer—things you cannot learn on their web site.
Q: I keep hearing something about marketing my skills in one minute. What is this?
A: Making a short (less than 45 seconds) “commercial” to market yourself to the employer is an excellent way of making sure you stand out. Think ahead about what you have to offer and the best way to present that information. A well-prepared, informative commercial should include the following:
- Your name
- Your major
- Your current class status
- Reason for attending the job fair
- Evidence of your knowledge about the industry/company
- Relationship of your skills and experiences to the position(s) of interest to you
Emphasize any transferable skills you may have such as supervision, writing, budgeting, management and communication skills. Rehearse your commercial with a friend until it is polished and natural. Here's how to structure your presentation and an example:
- Introduce yourself to the employee
- Provide 3-5 key aspects related to your skills, background and training
- State how you feel you can best benefit the company's goals and objectives
Practice, practice and more practice. Example:
Hello Ms. Jones, I am John Smith. It is nice to meet you. I’m a senior business major graduating in May. I was excited to see that you all were coming to the fair. I first heard about you all when a friend of mine interned at your headquarters last summer. She had a great experience and when I saw you all on the list for the fair, I really wanted to meet you.
I saw on the Career Fair web site you’re looking for full time financial planners. The job descriptions I’ve found on-line for those positions require a year of experience. I’ve had two internships over the past two summers, plus I’ve had a part-time teller job at Lexington Bank. Everything in the job description I’ve done either at work, on my internships, or in class. Would that be enough to meet the one-year requirement for these positions? Also, where are you anticipating job openings—the job description just said ‘Multiple locations?’ I’m able to move just about anywhere once I graduate.
Q: What if I have an interest in a position that a recruiter at the fair does not handle?
A: Be sure to ask for the name and title of the person whom it would be best to talk to regarding your career interests. Ask them to please pass your resume along to them. Follow up with an e-mail to both individuals.
Q: What about follow-up?
A: Follow-up is EXTREMELY important. Be sure to get a business card from every recruiter with whom you speak. If they have run out of cards, carefully copy down their name, title, address and phone number. Immediately send out thank you cards that contain some reminders of your conversation with them that would make you stand out from the rest of the candidates.