How to prepare for a career fair or open house


Think of the job fair as a chance to have mini interviews.  In other words, be prepared to make your first impression, ask relevant questions, and talk about your interests and goals.


1)     Prepare.  If you know which employers or types of employers will be there, select a handful that you would like to target.  Read their websites and other online material.  Write down a question or two that you might like to ask the representative of each company/organization. You can visit other tables or booths as well, but go to the fair with intentions; it will help you to present in a professional manner.

2)  Bring a resume, several copies. Carry them in a sturdy folder or portfolio.

3)   Rehearse a couple of lines about yourself.   I am BCC Engineering student, and I would like to gain practical experience with a paid internship or summer job.  I have worked in retail and in restaurants, and now I hope to find a job closer to my career goals.  Read your resume before you go, and think about positive experiences in each job, class, or volunteer position. Then be ready to listen to questions, the other person’s answers, and to what he or she has to say about his or her field. Relax; be yourself; listen. Ask for a business card (or write down the names of people you met).  When you get home you can write follow-up letters.  (Career Services will help you with job search related correspondence.)

4)    Dress the part.  Dress as though you are going to an interview.  There are places to find low cost or no cost interview clothing.  Talk with the career counselor, in the Career Center, located in SBA, to learn about interview clothing.

REMEMBER:  Most people do not prepare adequately for career fairs.  We will help you to prepare so that you can make the best of a potentially great opportunity.  Call 236-1611 or 236-1605 to make an appointment.

Articles about soft skills and the workplace

1) Soft Skills Can Help You Get Ahead, WSJ, Personal Finance
More about getting a promotion than getting a job Hard Unemployment Truths About ‘Soft’ Skills, WSJ
About what employers say is missing when they try to fill positions

3) On the Lesson Plan: Feelings: Soft Skills Business Courses Aim to Prepare Students for Management Roles
This one is about business schools, but may be interesting in that it focuses on the next level of soft skills: after you shake hands, interview, etc., then there is graciousness, etc..!

Job/Internship Search worksheet: Keeping Track of your Steps

Click Below for the

Job Search Worksheet


This (Excel) worksheet will help you organize your job search. We developed it for the internship search, but the same principles apply to looking for a job.  Collecting information; keeping track of people and conversations that you have had, formal and informal; and following up on all interactions related to your search: these are keys to a successful job/internship search.  Use this spreadsheet or another method, and any organizational tools that you like to use.


Job Outlook: The Candidate Skills/Qualities Employers Want

Spotlight for Career Services Professionals, October 26, 2011 

When it comes to the importance of candidate skills/qualities, employers are looking for team players and candidates who have strong verbal communication skills, according to respondents to NACE’s Job Outlook 2012 survey.

Survey participants rated “ability to work in a team structure” and “ability to verbally communicate with persons inside and outside the organization” as the two most important candidate skills/qualities. These are followed by candidates’ “ability to make decisions and solve problems,” “ability to obtain and process information,” and “ability to plan, organize, and prioritize work.”

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