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  1. Why should I attend a career fair?

  2. Can I find internships at a career fair?

  3. What should I bring with me to the fair?

  4. What should I wear?

  5. How can I find out which employers will be attending?

  6. How should I introduce myself to an employer?

  7. How long will it take me to go through the career fair?

  8. What if I am invited to interview?

  9. When do I follow up with employers?

 

  1. Q: Why should I attend a career fair?

    1. Career fairs offer an opportunity for you to meet with a wide variety of employers offering internship and job opportunities in one location. They are also a great place for you to practice your networking and professional communication skills - before an interview.  You'll be able to get an idea of the different job opportunities across several industry areas as well.  It is also a good idea to check out your competition while at the fair  - hang back in line and listen to what other students are asking, what the employers are asking, and survey the room for how professionally attendees are dressed.

      While most employers only accept applications online, they often use career fairs as a way to assess candidates with regard to professional appearance, verbal communication skills, sense of purpose or career direction, and seriousness about employment with their company.  If you really want to impress a recruiter, use the career fair as a way to follow up, letting them know that you have already submitted your application for a position with their company and wanted to personally meet a representative at the event.  Follow through with the questions you have prepared.


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  2. Q: Can I find internships at a career fair?

    1. Yes!  Many employers attend career fairs to recruit for full-time positions AND internships. Some fairs are dedicated solely to internship opportunities.  For instance, the Regional Internship Center collaborates with local universities to host internship fairs.


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  3. Q: What should I bring with me to the fair?

      • Your student ID
      • Research notes and questions you plan to ask each employer; pen/paper
      • Copies of your resume (reviewed by Career Services of course!); one copy for each employer with whom you plan to speak, plus several extra copies for those employers you speak with unexpectedly.  The resume should be printed on resume quality paper. 
      • A professional portfolio in which to carry your resumes and any company literature you receive at the event.  (If at all possible, try to leave your backpack at the coat-check area, in your car, or with a friend during your time at the fair.)
      • Print out a map of the event facility and highlight booth numbers for the employers you plan to visit.  (Hard copy directories will not be available at this year's PSU Career Days, so if you'd like paper copies of directory information, you will need to locate the information on the event website and print it out before the fair.)
      • A winning smile and positive attitude!

       



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  4. Q: What should I wear?

    1. Ideally, you should wear a conservative, dark-colored, business suit to a career fair.  If you do not own a business suit, men could wear dress pants, a dress shirt and tie, and a blazer or sport coat with dress shoes; women could wear a skirt (knee-length) or dress pants and a collared blouse with a blazer and dress shoes.  Your outfit should be cleaned, pressed, and fit properly.  Avoid excessive cologne, jewelery, or make-up.


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  5. Q: How can I find out which employers will be attending?

    1. Visit the career fair website for a list of employers registered to attend.  Continue to check the site for updated employer registration information.  If the fair runs multiple days, be sure to note which date(s) the employer has registered to attend.  Most sites will allow you to search for employers by name, keyword, industry area, or major.


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  6. Q: How should I introduce myself to an employer?

    1. It is a good idea to create and practice a "30-second" pitch for employers.  Introduce yourself by name, include your major/degree, and briefly let the employer know about your career interests, top skills, and internship, leadership, or other relevant experience.  If you are unsure, try starting with this sample format and tailoring the introduction for yourself:

      "Hello, my name is _____________ and I am in my senior year at Penn State majoring in Communications.  My goal is to work in corporate communications where I can combine my skills and interests in writing, editing, and public relations.  This past summer, I completed an exciting internship with XYZ Corporation where I assisted the marketing-communications department with a new initiative to ________.   I also enjoy serving as the chief editor of our school's literary magazine and building my corporate experience through my part-time position with _______.  Your company particularly interests me because _____________, and I am interested in learning more about ________. 


       

       

       


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  7. Q: How long will it take me to go through the career fair?

    1. That depends on how many employers you plan to visit and how long the lines are to see those employers.  Career fairs are typically very large events attended by hundreds of people.  Do not become overwhelmed - focus on your list of employers.  You may want to prioritize your list - maybe create a "top 5" selection - in case you do not have time to visit with all of the companies.  Very popular companies tend to have very long lines, so you may want to visit other employers on your list and come back to that line later. 


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  8. Q: What if I am invited to interview?

    1. Fantastic!  Some employers do add students to their interview schedules during a career fair (typically this happens in high-need areas such as engineering/technical disciplines and high-priority federal jobs).  If an employer invites you onto their interview schedule, you will need to officially apply for the position  - typically through the company website, but you may want to ask the employer about their application process.  Clarify with the employer the location for your interview. 
      (For Career Days events at University Park, your interview will most likely take place in the MBNA Career Services Center.  If you are unable to travel back to University Park for the interview, simply indicate to the employer that you are attending Penn State University at the Greater Allegheny campus, near Pittsburgh.  Ask if it would be possible to complete the interview via telephone, at a company office, the Greater Allegheny Career Services office, or other location near Pittsburgh, or if they would be willing to coordinate with your Career Services office to do a remote video interview via Adobe Connect or Polycom.)


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  9. Q: When do I follow up with employers?

    1. Be sure to ask each recruiter for a business card so that you can send a thank-you letter within 24-48 hours of the event.  Thank the recruiter for his/her time and the information provided during the event.  Remind the recruiter of your school, major, and career intentions, and try to include a unique discussion point that might help the recruiter to remember your conversation.  Candidates who take the time to follow up with a thank-you letter typically stand out for the recruiter.


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