Career Fair Tips to Help you Succeed
BEFORE Career Fair (Resume and Fair Prep)
- Follow These Steps to Set Yourself Up For a Successful IN-PERSON Career Fair Experience
- Follow These Steps to Set Yourself Up For A Successful VIRTUAL Career Fair Experience
- Prepare a RESUME with NO grammatical errors. We offer templates and assistance:
- RESEARCH and PRIORITIZE your employer list and identify your top 20 companies.
- Review the list of participating companies on the CM Career Fair page and the Career Fair Plus App.
- Be sure to research who they are, what they do, and where they do it!
- Also good to note:
- What positions they are hiring for
- What the company’s mission and key values are
- Some of their noteworthy projects or innovations
- Have a list of questions to ask recruiters, which are specific to each company and/or industry.
- PREPARE your Elevator Pitch to share with recruiters.
- Check out this helpful guide to preparing your elevator pitch by Carnegie-Mellon University.
DAY OF Career Fair (What to bring and do)
- DRESS APPROPRIATELY – wear professional business attire, as if you were going to an interview. Suits are recommended but not required. See CM’s Dress for Success Specifications or CSU Career Center’s – Attire Pinterest Page for some visual examples. If you need assistance procuring professional attire, the Career Center has an Interview Attire Fund application process.
- BRING STUDENT ID – it will be scanned for check-in and to print your name badge
- BRING YOUR RESUME – copies for everyone on your list (30+ copies are recommended!)
- GREET EMPLOYERS with a solid handshake, eye contact, and a smile
- Be prepared, enthusiastic, and respectful of their time
- If selected to attend interviews and/or dinner following the Career Fair make sure you confirm the invitations and show up!
- With few exceptions, undergraduate CON courses between 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. are cancelled, but it is your responsibility to confirm this with your instructors.
AFTER Career Fair (Follow-up)
- WRITE A BRIEF THANK YOU note to companies you were excited about or interviewed with. Send the note immediately after Career Fair/dinner/interview. In your note, state your enthusiasm for the opportunity and chance to work for the company.
- Handwritten Thank You’s are lost art and will leave a great impression, but email is acceptable, too – make sure to attach a PDF copy of your resume to the email.
Interview Prep Resources
Interviewing is the crucial stage where you get to demonstrate your fit with an organization.
Take advantage of CSU’s Interview Prep site Big Interview to review questions by industry, practice answering questions, and send your responses to be reviewed for feedback.
Consider watching this informational webinar on Virtual Interviewing presented by the CSU Career Center, covering how to research the company, prepare exceptional answers to likely questions, and create a good virtual setting for your interview.
Career Fair & Resume Frequently Asked Questions
How do I make a good impression at the Career Fair?
Come prepared and ready to engage with plenty of copies of your updated resume, your rehearsed elevator pitch, a good handshake, and be sure to make eye contact when speaking with employers. You should have researched and come up with a list of your top 10-20 companies and have notes and some questions for each.
How many resumes should I bring to the Career Fair?
Bring enough for all the companies on your list that you plan to visit. A good rule of thumb is to bring AT LEAST 25 copies.
What are the top 10 mistakes CM students make on their resume?
Recruiters spend roughly 7-10 seconds reviewing a resume and very seldom make it past page one. Make sure what they see captures their attention in a format they can quickly skim and find key information so they want to learn more.
Overall, a resume should demonstrate the skills & competencies sought by employers including: Problem Solving, Flexibility/Adaptability, Teamwork, Leadership/Influence, Oral & Written Communication, Decision Making, Critical Thinking, Organization Planning, & Prioritization. See CM Resume Template under ‘BEFORE Career Fair’ section above for a good overview of format and content.
The most common mistakes we see with CM student resumes include, but are not limited to:
- Incorrectly listing degree: Bachelor of Science in Construction Management
- Not listing anticipated graduation date: Ex: Anticipated Graduation Date May 2025
- Not providing full name and contact info on all resume and cover letter documents: Name, email, phone. Check that email and voicemail messages are professional/appropriate
- Experience is not listed in reverse chronological order, with most recent experience listed first
- Description of experience is wordy, vague, or does not include responsibilities or accomplishments. Responsibilities and accomplishments with each employer should be bulleted (not complete sentences and no personal pronouns) and should each begin with a strong action verb. Also should aim for 3-6 six bullets tops, with unrelated experience 1-2 bullets is fine.
- Includes inappropriate or personal information that is not relevant to the position
- Resume is too long (one page is the goal for 99% of CM students) or too short (less than 2/3 of a page)
- Formatting and font are distracting or difficult to read. Use appropriate headings, bolding, or italics to distinguish and organize key information and avoid excessive use of colors or fonts.
- Photo or References are included. NO PHOTOS!! References should not be included on a resume. References should be a separate document with the same resume name and contact header.
- Includes even one SPELLING OR GRAMMATICAL ERROR! Use spell check and get multiple eyes on it.
Should I distribute references at the Career Fair?
It is a good idea to bring a few copies of your references, but you do not need one for every company you plan to visit. Consider bringing 5-10 copies of your references, but do not voluntarily hand them out. If a company requests them, make a note of who you gave them to and give your references a heads up that the company will likely contact them. Be sure anyone you list is comfortable being a reference for you and that they have good things to say. Consider giving them talking points of what you would like them to highlight about your work performance.
How should I dress for the Career Fair?
The CM Career Fair is a professional event and a dress code is strictly enforced. Suits recommended, business casual at a minimum. Students or alumni who show up in jeans or sneakers will not be admitted.
See CSU Career Center’s – Attire Pinterest Page for some visual examples.
How do I first approach a recruiter?
Introduce yourself in 20 seconds or less! Google “elevator pitch” for tips and examples and check out this article and this check list to walk you through the process of creating your own Elevator Pitch to share with recruiters.
Be ready with a few initial questions about the company that you could not have easily found in our fair materials or at their website. The conversation should flow from there.
If I get asked for an interview, how do I prepare?
Some employers may ask you some interview questions on the spot or invite you to set up an interview time with them later. If you have not had an interview before, check out these Tips for Successful Interviewing and check out our Tips for Successful Interviewing above.
Who can attend the CM Career Fair?
The Career Fair is open ONLY to current CSU students (any major) and graduates of the CSU CM program.
Do students need to register for the CM Career Fair?
No. Any current CSU students, as well as CM Alumni, are welcome to attend the CM Career Fair. Bring identification (preferably your student ID) to the student check-in area.
I already have an offer, should I still attend the CM Career Fair?
YES!!! You have the privilege of being more selective, but the CM Career Fair is the single most beneficial networking event that you will likely encounter during your time at CSU (and beyond) – so don’t miss out! That said, you still need to do your research on companies and when introducing yourself be clear that you are already committed (for next summer, etc.) but exploring opportunities for future internships and employment, etc.
How do I decline an internship/work experience offer if I already accepted something else?
Be gracious and thank them for their consideration and immediately let them know you are committed for (this/next summer) but would love to circle back next year to see about future opportunities.
What if I have class during the time of the Career Fair?
Most CM classes between 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. are canceled for the day but it is your responsibility to confirm this with your professors! Classes outside of CM are not cancelled. Speak with your professors ahead of time to see if arrangements can be made to attend alternate class sections or make up any work that is missed.