Robert J. Trulaske Sr., College of Business, University of Missouri

Career Fair Tips

Be confident

The purpose of a Career Fair is for students and employers to meet and exchange information. Don't hesitate in your approach! Take the initiative and introduce yourself. Walking up and introducing yourself to a recruiter may be uncomfortable, and you may feel awkward and unsure about how to begin a conversation. However, recognize that, as in any new situation, first impressions begin with the moment you approach an employer. Make that moment count!

Walk up confidently, say hello, introduce yourself, and shake the representative's hand. Be sure to establish eye contact and smile. Make a general statement about yourself, such as, "I am in the Trulaske College of Business, with an emphasis in Management and Marketing and will graduate in December (or May). I would like to know more about career opportunities with your company." Also ask if they are interviewing on campus this semester – this will give you an idea of their hiring needs. The more recruiters you speak with, the more skilled you will become at these first introductions.

Dress professionally

You will succeed in creating the impression that you are serious about your future employment opportunities if you dress in appropriate business attire. It is absolutely necessary that both men and women wear business attire, even if the recruiters are more casually dressed.

Bring resumes

With so many companies represented at the Career Fair, having enough resumes to last through the day is essential. The resume should be well written, follow established resume development guidelines, and be professional in appearance.

Send follow-up notes

Ask for a business card before you leave an employer. This will ensure that you have the proper name and address of the representative with whom you spoke. Send a thank you letter within a week of the event. This should be a formal, typed, business letter on quality stationary. Be sure to remind each recruiter that you met him/her at the Career Fair, and that you appreciate having had the opportunity to discuss career opportunities. You may also wish to include another copy of your resume.

Use time effectively

There will be a list of companies available prior to the Career Fair. Know which corporations will be represented. Research the corporations before you introduce yourself to the recruiters so you will be able to ask intelligent questions - and respond to any questions with confidence.

Make a list of the corporate representatives you want to meet. Prioritize them. Don't meet with your top choices first. Try out your greeting and introduction on two or three which are nearer the bottom of your list so you will have a chance to overcome any nervousness before you approach your top choices.

After the Career Fair, check your recruiting calendar so you know when your choice companies are interviewing. During the pre-screen process, include a cover letter and mention that you spoke with them at Career Fair.