How to prep for career fair season

Career fair season is almost here. Check out these tips and tricks to help you connect with recruiters and potential employers.

Note: This photo was taken prior to COVID-19. Visit renewal.missouri.edu for current campus safety protocols.

Note: This photo was taken prior to COVID-19. Visit renewal.missouri.edu for current campus safety protocols.

Sept. 6, 2021

Students: It’s never too early to start attending career fairs and figuring out where you might want to work post-graduation. To help you prepare, Show Me Mizzou talked with a few career services team members from across campus. While these tips are universal, they are best suited for upperclassmen looking for internships or full-time jobs.

1.Brush up on your skills

Browse the Mizzou Career tools website.

“You don’t want to go into a career fair blind without any preparation. Use the keyword search and type ‘career fair’ to find lots of resources and a listing of all upcoming events. Also take time to explore the many filters and tags.” ­– Amanda Nell, senior coordinator of student services in the Career Center

2. Have your resume ready

“Bring at least 20 copies of your resume printed on resume paper. Also, take the extra step and have your resume reviewed by your college’s career center prior to the career fair.” – Matthew Arri, director of career services in the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources

3. Dress for success

“First impressions matter. Recruiters are making an assessment within 15 seconds of meeting someone, so dress for the occasion.” – Amanda Nell

Check out these guidelines and the MUCC Pinterest board for inspiration. If you need business attire, check out Truman’s Closet. It's a free service for Mizzou students, faculty and staff.

4. Have a game plan

Do some research ahead of time and decide which companies you want to talk to. You can use the Career Fair Plus app to research the employers coming to several of our career fairs on campus” – Matthew Arri

Be sure to select the “Student/Candidate” option and search “University of Missouri.”

5. Practice your elevator, or “get-to-know me,” pitch

Prepare a 30-60 second spiel that includes:

  • Your first and last name (it makes you seem more confident).
  • Year in school.
  • What your objective is — a job or an internship.
  • Your relevant experience.
  • Something that makes you stand out.

“Your elevator pitch is your first impression — it's a quick way to highlight important information that recruiters want to know and can help you stand out among your peers. The more you practice, the more natural it will become.” ­– Luke Gorham, School of Health Professions career services coordinator

6. Be interview-ready

“You really need to prepare for an interview. Take time to use some of our interview practice resources. It’s important to review possible questions and say your responses out loud to help ease your nerves and put your best foot forward.” ­– Amanda Nell

7. Prepare questions to ask recruiters

Do research on the company and any open positions they have. Know what products/services they provide, where they are located and their mission and/or value statement. These are great conversation starters and make you look smart!” – Julia Parcell, Trulaske College of Business Professional Edge programming director

8. Take notes

“Write down important information about the recruiter, the job opportunities and something specific you talked about with the recruiter. It will be useful when you send a follow-up message.” – Luke Gorham

9. Get the recruiter’s contact information

“It’s important to have multiple touch points with recruiters to help them remember you — this can be done by asking for their contact information or sending a LinkedIn request. Stay in touch with the recruiter and follow the company on LinkedIn and social media sites to stay up to date with each company.” – Julia Parcell

10. Send a follow-up message

Follow up with each contact within 48 hours. Remind them of who you are and reiterate your appreciation for their time and your interest in working for their company. Use that specific conversation piece that you noted to further jog their memory. Pro tip: It never hurts to attach your resume and a cover letter.

Upcoming career fairs
  • Sept. 8 Engineering
  • Sept. 14 Engineering (virtual)
  • Sept. 28 Textile and apparel management (virtual)
  • Sept. 28 Health professions and nursing (virtual)
  • Sept. 29 College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources/Arts and Science
  • Sept. 30 Accounting and business (virtual)
  • Oct. 20 Campus-wide (virtual)

Visit career.missouri.edu/news-events for more details on these events.

 

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