Prep Session helps students for upcoming Career Fair

GVL / Archive
Thuy Nguyen, Accounting major.

GVL / Archive Thuy Nguyen, Accounting major.

Allison Ribick

Going to the Career Fair to talk with possible employers takes guts and confidence, but it also takes a little bit of preparation. What do students need to know before going to the Grand Valley State University Career Fair on Feb. 24? Here are some tips: 

1. Between 12:30 p.m. and 1 p.m. on the day of the fair, students can attend a career exploration session to get an overview of the room, but students do not have to be interested in immediately getting an internship or job. For these students, the Career Fair can help them learn about what employers are looking for.

“It’s really good to get that idea so that, over your next couple years at Grand Valley, you can start to build your resume by joining organizations and getting part-time jobs or internships,” said Elizabeth Clark, a graduate assistant at the GVSU Career Center.

The main goal of the Career Fair is networking, Clark said.

2. To prepare for the interactions with employers, individuals must pay attention to their wardrobe and decide what to bring. Individuals should dress in business attire, which includes suits, slacks, blazers, blouses and button-downs.

Clark advised students to wear dark colors and avoid distracting colors and patterns. Depending on what field the student is interested in, however, there may be more flexibility, like in the arts or marketing.

Revealing clothing, excessive jewelry and makeup and strong perfume or cologne should be avoided. Facial piercings and tattoos can be distracting too, so students should be mindful about them.

3. Clark recommended bringing a portfolio or a folder with notepaper in it. Notes can include the names of the employers someone has spoken to, prepared questions and/or notes about what a student has learned. Students should bring multiple copies of their resume with them as well.

“If an employer doesn’t accept your resume, don’t be offended,” Clark said. “A lot of them are either going to accept every resume or they’re not going to accept any resumes. It doesn’t mean that they’re not interested in you; it’s just a formality that their company does.”

The resume should be one page with the most relevant and important items at the top, like college courses, internships, jobs or organization involvement, Clark said.

4. A list of the companies that will be at the Career Fair is available at the Career Center’s website. Individuals can take the opportunity to learn more about the organizations they want to visit and prepare questions specifically for certain organizations.

Clark advised students to follow up with employers within the week by sending them an email, letter or phone call to thank the employer and indicate their interest again.

5. Things to avoid include walking in large groups of friends, having a cell phone or iPod out, bringing extra baggage, asking recruiters obvious questions or simply taking all of the free stuff companies have on their booths.

“Don’t just walk around the Career Fair and see who has the coolest stuff and grab that, because it’s not about what you can get, it’s about getting a job or an internship,” Clark said.

For more information and to get a full list of the companies attending the Career Fair, visit

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