How to Start Preparing Now for the Job & Internship Fair

AU's annual Job & Internship fair is on March 21st, and while that may seem far away, we all know how quickly the spring semester goes by between midterms and spring break. Therefore, it’s never too early to start preparing!  Although I’m definitely not an expert in everything related to career searching, I worked at the career center last year and am a member of a professional group on campus so I’ve picked up some tips along the way. I still get nervous before networking or career events, but these are some ways I’ve found help me to beat my nerves and make these events a little less painful.


    1. Perfect your resume

    With all of the resources we have on campus, there is really no excuse for having spelling, formatting, or other errors on your resume. Both the main Career Center and the Kogod Center for Career Development offer resume guides and templates online, as well as personal appointments to go over your resume. There’s also hundreds of websites, blogs, and other resources with resume help online. An additional tip for standing out is to print your resume on resume paper, which is thicker and often slightly darker than regular computer paper. The idea is that printing your resume on thicker paper conveys its importance and sticks out to recruiters who receive hundreds of similar resumes at career fairs.

    Printing personal business cards is also an option in order to stand out and make sure recruiters remember you and can get in contact with you. I printed my own business cards for the first time over winter break through Staples, and I’ve heard that VistaPrint is an option as well. Although it might seem like you don’t have anything to put on it, even something as simple as your name, major, graduation year, and contact information will help you to stand out.



    2.  Start "stalking" now

    If you don’t already have a LinkedIn, you need to get one ASAP! I frequently “stalk” companies on LinkedIn that I’m interested in, and it’s how I hear about a lot of internship programs that I otherwise would never see. It’s also great for looking up alumni in your major or career field and seeing where they’re currently working, and what internships got them there. I’ve found that alumni, especially recent graduates, are usually pretty responsive to requests for getting coffee or having a phone call with current AU students.

    Once AU releases the list of companies attending the career fair, look them up and “follow” them on LinkedIn. If there are any alumni that work there, it’s a good idea to connect with them or ask them to chat to learn more about their experience. That way, when you’re talking to a recruiter at the job fair, you can mention something about the company that you saw on LinkedIn or heard about from a current employee.

    3. Prepare to dress the part

    AU usually recommends business professional for the fair, which means wearing a suit with matching pants and blazer, or similar professional attire. I used to hate the idea of wearing uncomfortable business clothes, but I realized that dressing the part actually puts me in a more confident and professional mindset. The point of dressing nicely isn’t just to impress recruiters, but actually to make yourself feel prepared and like a #girlboss. I also go out of my way to still be as comfortable as possible- for example, I personally almost never wear heels, and opt for flats instead. Do what works for you!

    Buying professional clothing doesn’t have to be super expensive. One of my favorite suits is from Target, and H&M and TJ Maxx are places I frequently buy clothes for interviews and networking events. For more tips, check out this article from one of our writers on buying professional clothing on a college budget.



    Remember, the most important thing is to be confident! With over a month until the career fair, we all have plenty of time to prepare and kill it on March 21st. 


    Photo Credit: 1, 2, 3, 4