Montana State University
Career, Internship
& Student Employment Services

Montana State University
177 Strand Union Bldg.
P.O. Box 174180
Bozeman, MT 59717-4180

Tel: (406) 994-4353
Toll-Free: 877-777-8489
Fax: (406) 994-5488
careers@montana.edu

How to Make the Most of Career Fair

Attend a workshop.
 
  • Sharpen your interviewing skills, have your resume critiqued, learn what to wear and what not to wear.
What to bring.
 
  • Portfolio or large capacity folder to carry your resumes, pens, notepads, etc.
  • 30-40+ copies of your resume on professional resume paper (preferably white or ivory).
  • A notepad and pen for taking notes after meeting with each recruiter.
    Business Cards – it may be helpful to print business cards to present to employers.
Research - Impress the recruiter by showing how much you know about their company.
 
  • Check the list of attending employers and target companies of your interest.
  • Research organizations before the fair.
  • Search the company on Google or Wikipedia.
  • Review an organization's information on their website.
  • Create a list and prioritize the organizations you are most interested in and visit their booths first.
  • Prepare questions to ask that will help you obtain the information you need, in addition to showing your knowledge of the field and interest in the industry.
Dress to impress.
 
  • First impressions are most important. Think conservative. Wear few/minimal accessories and perfume/cologne.
  • Press your clothing! This is a way to tell them non-verbally that you are very interested in their particular company.  See Attire Categories.
Preparation - Learn to sell yourself in a short amount of time.
 
  • Decide before you approach the recruiter how you will introduce yourself in one minute or less.
  • Greet the recruiter with a firm handshake stating your name, major, graduation date and why you are attending the Career Fair.
  • Present your resume – bring copies of your resume detailing your education, experience, skills and campus/community activities concisely. Career & Internship Services recommends visiting with a Career Coach or Career Peer to have your resume critiqued (call 994-4353 for an appointment).
  • Be prepared to briefly describe your background and what you are looking for. Be prepared to relate your education/experience/skills to the employer's needs.
  • Rehearse your “commercial” with a friend or advisor before the fair.
Try to attend early.
 
  • Coming earlier in the day allows more one-on-one time with the employers. Typically, career fairs are busier during the noon hour and won’t allow you to have the time required to get the valuable information you need.
Get a grip.
 
  • When you arrive, allow yourself a couple minutes to review the career fair map.
  • Take a couple trips around the fair to locate the most important employer booths. This way you can avoid long lines of students and maximize your time. 
Act professionally and courteously.
 
  • Be confident, enthusiastic and polite (remember courtesy and professionalism are expected and appreciated).
  • Give the rep your best handshake and smile, making clear eye-contact, and state how you appreciate the time he or she is about to give to you.
  • Introduce yourself, sharing your class standing and major.
  • Ask questions as needed. Base the questions on your research of the organization.
  • Listen and pay attention to what the recruiter is saying. This information may benefit you greatly if you receive an interview – ask good questions.
  • Do not monopolize an employer's time, know when to move on if there is a line of students waiting.
  • Cover letters are not necessary when you give out your resume in person but be prepared to give a list of references or a copy of your transcript.
  • Collect business cards and ask who the contact person is.
  • Make notes about what you talked about with each representative; use this information in follow-up letters.
  • Send thank-you letters to employers within one week after your visit or interview.
Be respectful.
 
  • When visiting with employers, remember that you are not only representing yourself and your college, but also your university. Montana State University is proud to have you meet with these employers and wants them to continue to visit in the future. Remember, these companies came to MSU because they are interested in hiring our students and alumni.
Attire Categories
 
  • Professional – This is the most conservative and traditional of all the categories. When dressing in a professional manner wear: suits, blazers, a-line skirts, button-up shirts, professional slacks, ties, black or brown dress shoes or heels.
  • Business Casual –This type of attire is more of a relaxed business look. You should present yourself by making good apparel choices by wearing: polos (without commercial logos) or shirts with collars, shirts tucked in, khakis, casual slacks, good looking leather shoes, cardigans, and sweaters.
  • Campus Attire – This is your everyday type of dress. Clothing such as: sweatshirts, sweatpants, baggy or ill-fitting jeans, sneakers, t-shirts, cut-offs, tank-tops, low-cut or too short of shorts and skirts will probably make a memorable impression, but not the kind that will land you an internship or job.