What is the Correct Shortcut to Prepare for a Job Fair – Part One

As an international student who’s been to the United States before, I attended my very first job fair last week. I might not gain an expected intern position for the coming up summer immediately, but I got asked for my resume 8 times. Not bad for the first job fair, right?

DO NOT consider the amount of resumes that you have handed out as the final accomplishment.

Then what can be counted as the real gains? Many students, especially international students, have complained that we’ve gained not much from all these job fairs. Normally, we would just swing by for an hour, give our resumes to a couple of companies, and then leave.

Well, I would say different people have various evaluations on these events. But for those who find my title interesting and still want to gain something from similar events, let’s get rid of some of the following misconceptions of job fairs first before we move on to the shortcuts.

  1. DO NOT take finding a job or internship as a day to day event. You don not want to attend just because your other classmates go there and you do not want to fall behind. Once again, it is the quality that matters, not the numbers. You could have participated in 5 job fairs and get interview chances with a couple of companies, or you could attend 20 and achieve nothing. So the number of job fairs you attend is not really important – it’s what you do at each one that’s most important.
  2. Being turned down by a company does not mean that you should give up communicating or connecting with their recruiters in subsequent job fairs. This case is commonly found among international students. The visa policies limit students to work under sponsorship; as such, lots of companies are not willing to provide sponsorships to international students, who want to work for a company for the long-term, due to the costs. Therefore, many local companies would bring up these conditions at the beginning to screen international students.

These are the two misconceptions that you might probably hear about when you first enrolled in school. To me, though I am an international student who might not have a perfect local (or “native”) accent, I’ve never thought of myself inferior to the other students. I’ve learned and gained through the process of communicating with the companies’ recruiters. The job fair is never a day to day event. It is a way of getting important information in addition to anything you may learn via  research about a company online. It is also a way for you to network to people who can be influential in your career development, regardless of how it all unfolds.


You might be complaining about not having enough time to prepare for a job fair beforehand with so much homework and school activities before and after classes. After we resolve some of the misconceptions of job fairs in this blog, I am going to share with you  some  shortcuts to prepare for a job fair.

If you have any other different ideas about job fairs or anything related to the info I’ve written about above, feel free to comment or send me an email: wang_4506@fisher.osu.edu. I am more than willing to have further discussions with you. This is Missy. And see you next time!

Faring In A Career Fair

Still on the hunt for a summer internship, I attended the Office of Diversity and Inclusion’s (the Office formerly known as Minority Affairs) Career Fair to see if I could check out  organizations that I would like to work for.

I find career fairs to be a little intimidating.  You’re competing with other people who could be better than you in so many ways (appearance, conversation, experience, etc.) – it can make you not even want to participate.  My coworker had been talking about the fair for at least a week, but I decided that morning “Eh I guess I’ll go” (which isn’t the best attitude to have if you’re looking for an internship).  On top of that you have all of these companies there looking for talent, but you don’t know what’s going on in their minds and they are essentially judging every single interaction they have.  Never knowing the type of person you are interacting with, one slip-up could blow your chance with the organization.  And I may not be aware of the “slip up” – every recruiter has his/her own personality, preferences, etc., and where one may want ultimate professionalism another may want that but doesn’t mind a little “flair.”  The thing is you don’t know!

Regardless if you have these kind of mixedfeelings, unfortunately I’m not that awesome where I can sponsor a “Garren Fair” where businesses come up to me and ask me if I feel like working for their organizations … so you have to Miley Cyrus it and let “the butterflies fly away”, nod your head like ‘yeah’ and get into the zone.

Now, as someone who is still looking for an internship I am by no means any kind of career adviser; however these are some things that I did that may be helpful for some people going to a career fair.

Class It Up

I believe the power suit is definitely appropriate for a career fair.  Save the business casual until you actually have the position.  Some recruiters will interview you within less than 24 hours after meeting you, so you want to look spot on.

Have a Target

Aimlessly going to every organization attending the fair may seem like the best way to go about it.  However, you want to be prepared and remember information about the organizations you interact with.  Yesterday’s career fair had 30+ organizations present.  You can’t possibly research (and remember) that many companies to have something to talk about with each recruiter, PLUS if you do follow up you have to remember all those names.  Granted you could write them down, but that’s a lot of time and effort.  You should spend time and effort before a career fair but focus on companies you are actually interested – not every organization is going to align with your interests.  For example, this career fair had an online list of organizations that would be present.  So I highlighted the ones that were interested in hiring interns and business/HR students.  From there, I was able to narrow it down to the ones I wanted to look at.  It’s a lot easier to act like you’re interested in a company when you really are.  Plus, if the career fair you go to is well organized, they will take your resume and distribute it to all the companies that attended … so even if you couldn’t meet every organization in attendance, you may get noticed and contacted by a recruiter for a company that  you had not even thought of!

Buddy System

I went with my coworker to the Career Fair.  The buddy system may work in most situations, and plus you can help practice your presentation skills with each other and critique one another.


Try to find away to compliment the recruiter or the company in some way (everyone likes a good comment).  One person I talked to told me she was the only HR person for the entire organization.  I acted extremely impressed (well it wasn’t an act but I think I physically showed surprise and awe).  It was not technically a compliment, but I am sure the woman got the impression that I was impressed with her and thought she had a very important job…I believe that was the recruiter that I connected with the most.

Resume Paper

I don’t think many people know about this  until at least their junior year of college, but there is hi-grade professional looking resume paper that really helps your resume stand out.  It is not expensive, and you can go to a UniPrint on campus, give them a regular copy of your resume, and it will print it out on resume paper.

Follow Up

Thank you cards really help you stand out from other job/internship seekers, and let a company that you truly are interested in them (especially when personally addressed to the recruiter).  I plan on sending a thank you note to one of the organizations that told me they had the potential for an HR Intern.  I unfortunately forgot my contact’s name BUT if it is at a career fair, the organizers will probably have a list of contacts, so I plan on contacting them to get the person’s name.

Be Yourself

… well, for the most part.  Some people will need to actually have to add some pep in their step or tone it down a notch, but in general you want to be with a organization that likes you and that you like.  You shouldn’t have to turn into another person to get a job.  If you do, you are probably not going to be a good fit and vice versa. Be yourself.

Well that is my advice on career fairs.  Like I said, I’m no expert so here’s another helpful guide that the Office of Diversity and Inclusion sent to attendees. Also, Fisher has PLENTY of resources.

P.S. – The Career Fair wasn’t just for people who are considered “diverse” – it was open to everyone.


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Not ready yet…

Last week drove me crazy– because of the career fair!

Time seems to fly with all the work in each course, but the highlight of this week was the career fair last Wednesday. Although I may not put much expectation on this event to get interviews, it is really frustrating… just arriving here for so short a time, I don’t see any advantage over local undergraduates, though we’re pursuing master degrees. Citizenship and language skills are biggest obstacles, and I cannot tell which one is a more severe issue. Actually, they are mutually related so it makes it more frustrating.

Facing this situation, I decide to modify my job-hunting strategies. Competing with local students is obviously not a wise choice. On the contrary, I think international students should take advantages of our foreign language skills, which cannot be easily substituted by local students. Keep on networking and try to get an internship. I still need more experience to update my resume.

It is really stressful to consider both coursework and job-hunting–too many but necessary things to do. My friend and I have determined to help each other to fulfill these tasks. Time management is really important. This seems to bring me back to those days when I prepared for GRE–simple objectives, specific plans, following them on time, tired but I was really productive. We’re going to live a “scheduled life,” reading before classes, doing homework, researching companies and position openings, and still have time to work out and engage in other leisure activities. The first solution we’ve come up with is to split up our jobs – we’ll try it out next week to see if it works!

Tips for International Students on Fisher Career Fair

I attended the 2010 Fisher Fall Career Fair held in the Ohio Union on Wednesday, October 6th. Here are some recommendations and tips for international students according to my experience.

Have a strategy for the Career Fair before going

By saying strategy, I mostly refer to a clear understanding of which companies to be your target ones. Rank them in several groups by your interests and their job availabilities (mostly by availabilities) and plan differently for firms in each group. Don’t automatically skip the ones which don’t consider international students for sometimes they do change their policies if you are really good, or at the very least you can practice your “pitch” and ease your tension by talking with those good-tempered and smiling representatives. I spoke with a few companies which don’t normally consider international candidates and surprisingly had a few pleasant conversations.

Dress professionally

I strongly recommend that international students bring at least one professional suit and one set of business casual clothes to the US. I never thought we would be attending so many occasions that require dressing professionally. Suits in US are often big and expensive, especially for Asians.

Be confident

You probably won’t get an internship or a job just because you are confident, but you could lose an opportunity merely by not acting confidently. You are an HR person who should be a master of communication.

Do (good) follow-up

You should plan on speaking with at least 15 companies’ representatives during the Career fair. As a result, you will have to remember and digest a lot of information. I advise to review all materials given by representatives and information associated with the job or internship positions right after you walk out of the ball room.