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Hart School SPRING Career & Internship Fair
For Hospitality Management and Sport & Recreation Management Majors

Wednesday, February 7, 2024
10:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.

Location: Festival Conference and Student Center
1301 Carrier Drive, Harrisonburg, VA 22807

Register Here

Registration will be available on Handshake beginning November 1 and will remain available until full.

What to expect from a Career Fair

Participating in our semesterly career fairs is an exciting opportunity that allows you to connect with professionals in your industry area of interest. The purpose of the Career Fair is to learn about jobs and internships available, talk with employers representing different organizations and network. Here are some things to expect:

  • When you check in at the Fair, you will receive a paper copy of the floor map, depicting how organizations are arranged. Before beginning, decide which organizations you want to meet with, and make a plan of action.
  • 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.
  • Possible interviews:
    • Some employers may want to schedule an interview with you after the Fair, so be prepared for this possibility.
    • Read about interview preparation and ways to practice, like Practice Interviews and Big Interview.
  • Some employers leave early:
    • Depending on an employer’s distance from home, they may leave a little earlier than the official end of the Fair. With that in mind, arrive at the Fair as soon as you can.
  1. Log into your Handshake account. Go to the EVENTS tab via the top menu bar.
  2. Select CAREER FAIRS under the CATEGORY tab
  3. Click on the Hart School’s fair page, then select the blue REGISTER button. Be sure to look at employers attending each day, so as not to miss a key employer.
Preparing for the Fair

Note: Prior to the Fair, you can contact the Hart School’s Professional Development & Employer Engagement Coordinator, Lauren Wholihan Gardner ( with questions. You can also check out JMU’s University Career Center calendar for upcoming workshops and resume review opportunities to help you prepare.

  • 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.
  • Bring at least 10-20 copies of your resume to the Fair.
  • Learn more about the basics of resume writing and ways to have your resume reviewed in the resume section of JMU’s University Career Center's website. You can also schedule an appointment to have your resume reviewed with Lauren Wholihan Gardner, the Hart School’s Professional Development & Employer Engagement Coordinator on the Hart School Professional Development webpage. 
  • Before the Fair it’s important to look up who’s attending and plan out who you’d like to speak with first.
    • View a full list of employers attending the Career Fair on the career fair webpage. You can access this list by:
      1. Logging into your Handshake account
      2. Click on the "Events" tab at the top left of the page
      3. Click on the “Category” dropdown and select "Career Fairs”
      4. Select the JMU Hart School of Hospitality, Sport & Recreation Career Fair
    • Enter keywords in the search bar to explore employers and positions by major, industry or other keywords.
    • Click on an organization name that interests you. To see more detail about open positions from the organization, click the Career Fairs tab within the organization listing.
  • Make a list of the organizations you would like to connect with at the Fair. When you arrive at the Fair, start with the organizations you’re already interested in, so that you don't run out of time.
  • Take time to visit with organizations you haven’t considered yet. Employers are recruiting students who have the skills and personality that are a good fit for their organization. The organization may have more opportunities available than they’ve included in the Career Fair listing, so take time to network with different organizations and get the name of the hiring manager for jobs you’re interested in obtaining.
  • 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, academic programs and year in school
    • Where You’ve Been: prior experiences that qualify you for professional consideration
    • and Where You’re Going: the type of experience/position(s) you are looking for
  • As the conversation with the employer progresses, you can also mention what excites you about working in this field or position, 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.
  • Need some practice? Record a video of yourself answering interview questions using our InterviewStream service online anytime 24/7.

As you research organizations, write down your questions so you remember them at the Fair. You can use employer websites like LinkedInCareerBliss and Handshake 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! If you don’t have questions, you’re not prepared.
  • Bear in mind that your questions should not make the employer feel "put on the spot". You are demonstrating your interest in the organization by asking questions that indicate you have done your research on the company.
  • 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. Here are a few examples to help guide you:
    • 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?
  • If you bring a written list of questions to the Fair, make sure to decide what you want to ask before you arrive at the employer’s booth, so that you can maintain eye contact throughout your conversation.
  • Dress professional from head to toe. You want to make a positive first impression; here are a few tips to help:

    • 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’ll be provided a space to drop off your coat, backpacks or other items you don’t want to carry around at the Career Fair. Just look for signs for the coat check room.
    • Wear comfortable dress shoes because you’ll be standing a while.  
    • Read up on more professional attire tips.
  • You’ll want to have a notebook, 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
  • Pen
  • Tissues
  • Breath mints (not gum)

Employers send recruiters to the 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.

Introduce Yourself

  • 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.
  • Remember, don’t say anything negative about previous employers or experiences in college.

Offer Resume

  • Always introduce yourself before offering your resume.
  • Often an employer will ask you for your resume prior to the end of your conversation, but if not, you may still offer it after making a connection with the employer.

Before Leaving, Ask Employer

  • For a business card or contact information.
  • The best way to follow up with them.
  • A time frame for 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!
  • 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.
  • JMU students attending this event should park in student lots with the appropriate permit in accordance with JMU parking regulations. Parking will be limited and you’re encouraged to utilize the bus transit system.

Prior to the Career Fair, you can contact the Hart School’s Professional Development & Employer Engagement Coordinator, Lauren Wholihan Gardner ( with any questions. And check out JMU’s University Career Center calendar for upcoming workshops and resume review opportunities to help you prepare.

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