Career Fair Preparation: You’re Hired

AshleyMililloCareerFairEmployers have said they love recruiting PSU students. The Wall Street Journal even ranked us #1 on its list of “The Top 25 Recruiter Picks” from 2010, ahead of schools like Carnegie Mellon, Notre Dame and MIT.

But when you’re competing against hundreds – make that thousands – of fellow job-hungry classmates, standing out at the Penn State Career Fair might seem impossible. To improve your odds, we asked Director of Career Services Jeff Garis for some pointers on how to leave your best impression on recruiters and hopefully land your dream job or internship. These tips are sure to help eliminate any intimidation and leave you feeling prepared, confident and (hopefully) employed!

V: At Penn State, recruiters meet so many different students. What are some ways to stand out?  How can you make yourself memorable?

JG: “When [you] first approach them, make good eye contact. The other thing is genuineness. Obviously be professional, but not robot-like; let your own personality come through.”

V: What are some things NOT to do when interacting with recruiters?

JG: “You don’t want to stand out in a negative way. We don’t like to dictate the way students look – those are personal choices – but make sure you’re wearing business attire. Sometimes, [you] might make mistakes (guys might not [fasten] their tie correctly) and those things get noticed. Look as professional as possible.”

V: Generally, employers are mainly interested in speaking with juniors and seniors…should freshmen and sophomores bother to attend?  Is it “worth” it?

JG: “I believe that [it] is.  It can be fairly overwhelming to go to if it’s your first career day. Get the lay of the land and get a sense of the environment so you’re not caught off guard when you’re looking for a job or an internship.”

V: Is there a generic “formula” in terms of an introduction? How can students be informative without rambling on?

JG: “You’ve got about 10 seconds; say hello, introduce your name, obviously have a resume available, and express some enthusiasm. A genuine interest in that organization is always a good thing.”

V: Finally, what are some questions students should be asking recruiters?

JG: “Anything that can show [you’ve] done a little research or that [you’re] informed about the company… ‘I was on your website and I noticed this new product line, can you tell me briefly more about that?’ It does two things: it shows you’ve done your research and [you] sound a little more sophisticated.”

For more information, visit to see which companies are attending, view the event schedule and learn even more tips on how to succeed at the 2013 Spring Career Fair. Whether you’re a freshman eager to learn the ropes or a senior hoping to land a job, be sure to head over to the Bryce Jordan Center this Wednesday  (March 20) and Thursday (March21) from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Good luck and happy hiring!


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