It is never too early to prepare. Click the links below for advice on how to prepare for either the fall or spring IU South Bend Career and Internship Fair.
THANK YOU’S: Send thank you emails in a timely manner. In your message, be sure to remind the recruiter that you met at the IU South Bend Career and Internship Fair. Also, mention how much you appreciated the time the recruiter took to visit with you and to answer your questions. Lastly, quickly reiterate a few of your qualifications and your interest in working for their company. Be sure to include a copy of your résumé, if the recruiter requested one via email.
OTHER FOLLOW-UP OR FOLLOW-THROUGH: If a recruiter asked you to complete an online application, send transcripts (or other materials) or to contact them, be sure to do so in a timely manner (less than 48 business hours after the fair). Failure to follow-through will most likely eliminate you from the potential candidate pool.
Finally, some helpful WORDS OF ADVICE: A career and internship fair is really a 'networking event'. Employers are there to meet people, accept résumés, and end the day with good applicants to contact about follow-up interviews. It's true that job interviews have happened at job fairs, but it is very rare. Even more rarely are job offers made at a fair. Your primary goal should be to make a great first impression, meet some good contacts, learn everything you can about the opportunities available to you through the fair, and follow-up as requested. GOOD LUCK IN YOUR JOB SEARCH!!
Allow yourself adequate time. Come as early as possible, as employers will be “fresh” and the fair is less crowded. Plan to be at the Fair for at least two hours. Just like any athlete or performer, it will take you a while to “warm-up” and get comfortable with the environment.
Get your bearings. When you arrive, take a few minutes to review the employer booth map and directory. You’ll feel more comfortable if you know where companies are rather than wandering around trying to find them.
Be patient. Some employers may have a line of candidates waiting to visit with them. You may decide to visit another employer and return to this employer later. If you do wait in line, use that opportunity to listen to the employer interact with other candidates but do not crowd the employer and the other candidate.
Prioritize the employers you're most interested in. If your schedule allows, you may find it easiest to start with the employers in which you're NOT the MOST interested. This will allow you to hone your approach and to be most confident when you approach the employers you're most excited about. Be sure to balance this tip with the reality that you may have little time and that many other students may be interested in the same employers. Assume that you will need to wait to speak with some employers. After you’ve visited with all the employers on your ‘A’ list, if you have time, visit employers whose jobs looked like possibilities. You never know what may come from it!
Ask intelligent, well thought out questions. The conversation with a recruiter should be two-sided, with both parties asking questions and providing information.
Be sure to get your résumé in the recruiter’s hands. If you have run out of résumés or did not bring one, offer to send it via email after the fair.
Be sure to get the recruiter’s business card and company literature.
Thank the recruiter for their time.
Make notes about your interactions between different employer contacts -- preferably on the recruiter's business card or company literature. These notes will be helpful to you as you write thank you letters, prepare for interviews, or evaluate job offers.
When meeting with recruiters, communicate with confidence. Be prepared to describe, in about 60 seconds, your education, work experience, and career interests. This is your "60-second commercial" of yourself. Some tips:
- Be sure your commercial has the following:
- Your name
- 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
- Be sure to highlight your strengths and what you could add to that organization.
- Be as specific as possible: "I was the treasurer for XYZ Club," is better than "I have strong leadership skills." And, "I worked about 15 hours per week while I carried a full load of classes" is more descriptive than "I have good time management skills."
- Practice your commercial out loud in the mirror before the Fair so that you feel comfortable and confident in your presentation, but avoid sounding as though you've memorized a script. Don't read from notes.
- This commercial will be most effective if you have read the employer's job description so that you can relate your qualifications and interests to the job being offered.
- Reading job descriptions carefully also helps you ask questions based on what you do know, not what you don't know. (Example: I saw in the job description that this position requires occasional relocation during training. Can you tell me some of the locations that might be available?)
- Be sure your commercial has the following:
First impressions are critical. You only get ONE first impression!
IU South Bend is a casual environment but recruiters are not from IU South Bend. Put your best foot forward by dressing in conservative, well pressed, business attire. Remember, "Professional, business attire" does NOT mean "dressed up". In other words, don't wear what you would wear to a nice club or a religious service.
Some attire tips:
- Professional, business attire means clothes that are clean, fit well, and are nicely pressed
- Dark slacks or skirt (not too short!), a button-up shirt with a tie or a blouse, etc. are all appropriate choices
- Wear little to no perfume or cologne
- Wear simple make-up and jewelry, if you choose to wear any
Note: Professional dress is REQUIRED for entry into the fair. Jeans, tennis/gym shoes, t-shirts, etc. will NOT be permitted.
- Turn off your cell phone
- Don't travel in packs. Employers want to talk to you, not you and your 3 closest friends
- Smile. Offer a firm handshake. Chewing gum is inappropriate; so is eating or drinking anything
- Approach employers with confidence -- always remember that they are hoping that you will be the star candidate they have been waiting for.
- Click here for more information.
Items to bring with you:
- Portfolio or folder to carry résumés
- Pen and paper
- Several copies of your résumé
Who is going to make a better impression, a student who walks up to a recruiter and says "So, what does your company do?" or a student who says "I am really interested in your management training program, can you tell me more about it?" The more research you can do, the more prepared you will be and the more impressed the recruiter will be. Do your homework online by viewing which companies will be attending the fair and researching them. A full list of the companies attending the IU South Bend Career and Internship Fair can be viewed here: careerevents.iusb.edu/career-fair/part_org2/index.php.
Also, don't be afraid to expand your focus. Be willing to approach employers that appear unrelated to your major. Technical companies offer non-technical positions, and vice-versa. A technical company may have openings in human resources, marketing, public relations or accounting. Employers often seek candidates with a strong liberal arts background.
Fair Tip of the Week: Create a Winning Résumé
If you do not have a résumé already prepared, be sure to have one written and reviewed prior to attending a career fair. The Career Services Office (CSO) provides one-on-one résumé writing and critiquing sessions. Many employers will collect résumés at the Career and Internship Fair, indicating those candidates with whom they have met and would like to consider further. Have a résumé that is clear, concise (one page is preferred), easy to review by a reader within a short amount of time. Also, be sure you have enough copies to take to the fair with you. Do not wait until the day before or the day
ofto make copies. Good luck! Remember:The CSO prints limited copies of résumés for IU South Bend students on quality paper for free!