JMU Spring Career & Internship Fair
Information for Students
February 18 & 19, 2014 from 11am-3pm
Festival Conference & Student Center
Join in the conversation on Twitter with hashtag #jmucareerfair or send questions to @jmucap. Check out photos from our last Career Fair on Facebook!
The purpose of a Career Fair is to learn about jobs and internships available, talk with employers representing different organizations, and network. View tips from students attending one of our Fairs to get a first-hand look. Here are some other things to expect:
- Employers are set-up side-by-side in aisles in the Festival Ballroom.
- When you check-in at the Fair, you will receive a map of how organizations are arranged. Before beginning, find where organizations are that you want to meet with and make a plan of action of whom you will visit first, second, and so on.
- Some organizations bring several recruiters. Focus on one recruiter and be sensitive of their time if it seems like they are wrapping up the conversation.
- Since so many people are concentrated in one area, you can expect a lot of noise.
- If you’re a naturally quiet speaker, be conscious of an employer’s ability to hear you.
- Employers will have giveaways to help promote their organization to you.
- Remember to focus on talking to the recruiter; not getting the giveaways.
Some employers leave early:
- Depending on an employer’s distance to travel home, they may leave a little earlier than the official end of the Fair.
- With that in mind, arrive to the Fair as soon as you can.
- Some employers may want to schedule an interview with you after the Fair, so be prepared for this possibility.
- Read more advice about interview preparation and ways to practice like Practice Interviews and InterviewStream.
LinkedIn photo booth:
- Stop by our LinkedIn photo booth while you're at the Fair to have a professional profile image taken while you're dressed your best!
- Don't have a LinkedIn account? Now's the time to learn more and create one.
- Recruiters will see a lot of students, and your resume is a paper representation of you and your experiences that recruiters will review at the end of the day to determine who to follow-up with.
- You’ll want to have copies of your resume at the Fair; bring 10 to 20 copies at least.
- Learn more about the basics of resume writing and ways to have your resume reviewed in the resume section of our website.
Identify Organizations that Interest You:
- It’s important to access Recruit-A-Duke before the event to view who’s attending the Fair and plan out who you’d like to speak with. To search the employer listing:
- Login to Recruit-A-Duke.
- Click "Career Events" on top menu, then click the name of the event you are attending.
- Click the "Advanced Search" tab at the top of the screen.
- You can search by major, geographic area, full-time versus internship, or industry. Choose your criteria and click submit.
- Skim through the list of organizations. You'll see the list of majors they are seeking; some are looking for all majors. Note that some organizations use major categories to describe groups of majors, so it's important to know which category is used to describe your major.
- Click on organization names that interest you.
- To see more detail about open positions from that organization, click the Career Fairs tab within the organization listing. Look for the columns that correspond with the Fair you are attending.
- Make a list of the organizations you would like to connect with at the Fair. When you arrive at the Fair, visit with the organizations you’re already interested in. Then, take time to visit with organizations you haven’t considered yet.
- Be open to meeting with employers you haven’t researched. Employers are recruiting students who have the skills and personality that are a good fit for their organization. The reality is, though they may not have included your major or educational licensure area in their listing, they may be very interested in what you could bring to the position. In fact, 50% of employers who attend the Fall and Spring Career Fairs recruit ALL majors. So, don’t eliminate organizations because they haven’t specifically listed that they’re recruiting your major. The organization may have more opportunities available than they’ve included in the Career Fair listing. So take the time to network with different organizations and get the name of the hiring manager for jobs you’re interested in obtaining.
- You’ll want to practice a brief introduction prior to the Fair.
- You will only have a few minutes with a recruiter, so you want to prepare a succinct statement to introduce and sell your professional self. Include where you are now (your name, your academic programs, your year), where you have been (prior experiences that qualify you), and where you are going (the type of experience/position you are looking for).
- As the conversation with the employer progresses, you can also mention what excites you about working in this field in the future, how your interests and skills align with what they might be seeking, or what you’re passionate about. Think about what might set you apart.
- You can practice your introduction and record a video of yourself to review using our InterviewStream service.
Prepare Questions to Ask:
- As you research organizations, there will be questions that arise and you should write these down so you remember them at the Fair. You can use employer websites, sites like CareerBliss, and Recruit-A-Duke, to do your research.
- There’s nothing that makes you look less interested in an organization than not having any questions for them, so do your homework!
- It’s okay if you have some questions that you ask all employers, and other questions that are for specific employers.
- This is not an appropriate time to ask questions about salary, but it’s a great time to ask questions about organization culture, training, and the selection process and timeline.
- Create your own questions, but here are some examples:
- What kinds of skills and experience do you look for in the employees you hire?
- Are graduate degrees important to advance within your organization?
- Does your organization hire on a continual basis or during specific times of the year?
- How many years does a typical entry-level employee stay with your organization?
- Are there opportunities for ongoing training and professional development?
- What made you choose to work for this organization?
- Bring questions that you’ve compiled to the Fair. Glance at the questions you want to ask before you arrive at the employer’s booth so that you can maintain eye contact throughout your conversation.
- Wear a suit if you have one, but if not don’t let that keep you from attending the Fair.
- You want to dress professionally and respectfully, which includes ironing your clothes.
- It’s always better to be overdressed than underdressed.
- If you have sweaty palms, bring a tissue to help keep your hands dry between handshakes.
- You can drop-off your coat, backpacks, or other items you don’t want to carry around in the coat check room in the Festival.
- Wear comfortable dress shoes, because you’ll be standing awhile.
- Read more professional attire tips for men and women.
What to Bring:
- You’ll want to have a padfolio, binder, or folder to keep your resume and prepared list of questions organized. You can also store materials you receive from employers here.
- Resumes (10-20 at least)
- List of organizations, notes, and questions
- Breath mints; not gum
Employers send recruiters to Career Fair who can speak to students about the organization and available positions. A recruiter’s job is to meet, recruit, and screen potential applicants, so don’t be intimidated. They want to talk with you. Many recruiters are also JMU alumni, which can be a point of connection. Here are some pointers for your conversations with recruiters.
- Offer a handshake, and maintain eye contact as you provide your introduction (as described above).
Listen to the Recruiter about organization and opportunities:
- After you introduce yourself, the recruiter will describe and provide literature about their organization and opportunities.
- The employer will expect that you ask questions, and they will ask you questions.
- You want to demonstrate confidence, enthusiasm, and interest for the organization. Don’t say anything negative about previous employers or experiences in college.
- Always introduce yourself before offering your resume.
- An employer who attended one of our Fairs commented, “Students were walking around sticking out their resumes.” This shouldn't be the first thing you do, and should at earliest come after you’ve introduced yourself and listened to the recruiter about their organization and opportunities.
- Often an employer will ask you if you have your resume.
Before Leaving, Ask Employer:
- For a business card or contact information.
- The best way to follow-up with them.
- A time frame of their hiring process.
After the Fair:
- Send thank you emails to recruiters that you spoke with if you are still interested in their opportunities. This can easily set you apart from other candidates!
- Continue your job or internship search.
- Develop an organizational system to track all of the recruiters and potential job leads you find at the Career Fair and in your job search in general.
Students can park in Convo lots A, E, or B. See the JMU parking map for these locations.
Shuttles will be running from Convo lot A to the Festival throughout the event. There will be a tent at the shuttle stop in Convo Lot A.
Attend the Career Fair for a chance to win one of three $1000 scholarships!
If you attend the Career Fair and are returning to JMU next semester, you could win! Sign in at the student check-in table when you arrive and complete the survey after the Fair to be entered in the drawing.
If the university is closed or the opening of the university is delayed until 11am or later, the Fair will be rescheduled. If the university opens by 10am, the Fair will run as scheduled. In the event that the university closes during the day the event will be immediately canceled. For JMU cancellation information go to http://www.jmu.edu or call 540-433-5300.
You can meet with a career counselor to talk more about how to approach Career Fair and discuss any questions you may have. And check out our calendar for upcoming workshops that can also help you prepare.
Career & Academic Planning staff will also be available to answer any questions you might have during the Fair. Look for us at the registration desk at the front of the Festival Ballroom.