Are YOU Ready for the Career Fair?


Career Fairs can be overwhelming but with adequate preparation, any student can succeed. Here are some guidelines to help you through the process:

What do I bring?

  • A plan of what companies you want to talk to, including practice companies and research on each target company
  • Portfolio (Simple black one with a pad of paper on one side and a pocket on the other side)
  • Pen
  • Plenty of Resumes (Based on how many companies you want to talk to X2)
  • Business Cards (Click here for help)
  • Proper Attire
  • Mints in your pocket
  • A watch (to plan your time strategically without having to look at your phone, if you use your phone make sure it is on silent)
  • A Pitch



  • Look on your university website to identify your Career Fairs date and time, dress code, and list of companies attending
  • Pick a couple of practice companies to talk to first in order to help you get warmed up
  • Don’t walk away from any table without the first and last name of the person you talked to
  • Before you talk to the next person, take some notes on the conversation you just had so that you can reference it later for your thank you note


The Pitch

A quick summary of who you are and what you are looking for


Intro: Offer your name, a firm handshake, and give them a resume

Objective: Why you’re there and what type of job you’re looking for, and where

Summary: Briefly summarize education, experience, and interests

Closing: Reiterate your interest, thank the employer (get a business card if possible)



Hi, I’m [NAME], I’m a [junior MIS] major, graduating in [May 2018], looking for an [MIS internship this summer].

Really enjoy —–

I’m very interested in (company) and look forward to hearing from you.  Thanks for talking with me.

Hone Skills Employers Want Over the Holidays

We understand that your top priorities when thinking about the winter break involve sleep, family, friends, and fun outings. Yet, with almost a month of unstructured time available, it’s a great time to jump online and learn some new tools or increase your skill level on others.

Search YouTube and Google for free training resources for these 4 suggestions:

  • Excel – there’s always something more to learn
  • Trello – popular project management tool used by 4 million users and counting
  • Photoshop, iMovie & others – photo and video editing
  • Tableau – transforming data to visually appealing dashboards

For additional ideas, check out this article that highlights 38 skills employers want.

Just think about all the skills you can add to your resume and LinkedIn after winter break to stand out from the crowd!

Networking – Top Priority in the Job Search Process

Growing up, my dad often communicated three valuable pieces of career advice:

  • Be curious – ask professionals what they do and why they enjoy their work
  • Ask for help and help others when asked
  • Treat people the way you want to be treated – one day they may work for you or you may work for them

Needles to say, decades later, this advice rings true.

What my father was saying is that the job search process should be social and communal, not isolating. This recent study affirms the social approach as it found that 85% of all jobs were acquired through networking.

As highlighted in the article, the key is not the quantity of the interactions but the quality. Every informational interview should have a clear purpose and a goal to move you forward. With access to 400 million professionals at your fingertips on LinkedIn, I encourage you to reach out!

Invest in Yourself

Invest 30 minutes in yourself and find out what your strengths are with Strength Finders 2.0. Plus, it’s a top 5 business book and employers may ask about your results. Take the online assessment here and get immediate results or order the book online here to get your access code! Then go celebrate as you learned something significant about yourself!

5 Career Fair Tips for College Students – Planning and Practice are Keys to Success

Yes, we know, it’s hard to get excited about Career Fairs. They are stressful, overwhelming, you may be competing against your classmate or good friend for face time with the recruiter, and it’s impossible to talk to all the companies that attend and be memorable. There are just too many people and not enough time.

We understand. That’s why we want you to forget about your past experiences and biases and try something new this year.

Have a plan

Review the list of companies that are coming ahead of time and rank the companies, prioritizing the ones you are most interested in first.

Get business cards
Many schools offer this service to students so check with the career center first. If not, head to for the best value in business cards. It’s impressive to the recruiter as it shows you planned ahead, plus you’re more likely to get a card from the recruiter if you present one first. It’s also much easier to follow-up with each contact after the career fair too.

Prepare a pitch
Your pitch needs to be focused, short (60 seconds or less) and memorable and should have 4 key parts:

  • Introduction: Introduce yourself, offer a firm hand shake, a resume and a business card
  • Objective: Tell the employer why you are there and what sort of job/internship you seek
  • Summary: Briefly summarize your education, experience, strengths, highlight something unique or memorable
  • Closing: Reiterate your interest and thank the employer, tell them you’ll stay in touch

Review your checklist

  • Pen and Notebook
  • 12+ resumes
  • Business cards (can be stapled to resumes if preferred)
  • Copies of your unofficial transcript (optional)
  • Copies of list of references (optional)
  • Appropriate clothing – check the career center guidelines
  • Small breath mints—no gum!
  • A positive attitude

Practice first

Before going to talk with your favorite company, practice your pitch and engage with 1-2 other employers first. Think of this as your warm-up. Afterward, go out in the hall, reflect, and jot down notes on how it went. Makes small adjustments if needed, then go confidently to talk with your favorite companies.

Can’t wait to hear how your career fair went!



3 New Life Skills for this Summer

Summer is the perfect time to take on side projects that will look good on your resume and make you a better you! Here are 3 ideas with free resources to help you get started!


  1. Learn a language

Being fluent in another language is almost invaluable. It makes you more of an asset to a company, makes you more cultured, and can be fun! With Duolingo, you can learn an entire new language and open up hundreds of doors in your future, all for free!


  1. Invest in stocks

If you are fortunate enough to have some extra money lying around, it is time to put it to good use! Instead of buying that video game, or purse you wanted, invest that extra cash. By learning how stocks work, you will understand more about the financial world, and could even make some cash! (Just make sure you don’t blow your life savings) Investopedia has great resources to get you started.


  1. Complete a Good Cause Project

Maybe it’s a recycling program at a local school, a canned food collection in your neighborhood, or a fun run to raise money for a charity. As long as it is something that is meaningful to you, you cannot go wrong with a good cause project. Not only will your organization skills show through on your resume, but contributing to a good cause is something that you can be proud of! Here is a list of some great non-profits that you can get involved with.

Making The Most Of Summer – Volunteering

A great way to build new skills over the summer is through volunteering. It’s important to first find an organization that you are passionate about, but it’s even more important to make sure you are gaining skills that you will use in the future. We recommend that you make a list of tasks you would like to perform and present them to whichever organization you choose to volunteer for.

One of our previous Career Onward interns, Amy, is currently volunteering for an organization in Houston, Texas. She worked with our founder, Lori, to create a list of jobs she would like to do for this organization that would benefit her work in the future. She presented her list to the organization and they were more than happy to cater to the type of work she was interested in doing. In fact, they needed help in all of the areas she listed. Amy’s story showed me that there is most definitely power in asking specifically to do certain work. It will pay off in the long run and will make the experience very enjoyable.

You may already have an organization or nonprofit that you are passionate about, but if not friends, family, Google and people around your community are great resources to help you find one.

Which organizations are you passionate about volunteering for? Comment below or tag @careeronward in a picture on Instagram with #summervolunteer

Making The Most Of Summer – Build Skills

Throughout the school year I found myself creating a list of important skills I needed to build before graduation. I wanted to become an expert at Photoshop, InDesign, and Illustrator. Overtime I noticed that I had put building these skills on the back burner due to class, studying, group projects, work, etc. As my spring semester came to a close I decided that I needed to dedicate time each week throughout the summer to reach my goals and build these important skills. I know summer can be chaotic between going abroad, having an internship and taking summer school, but I encourage you to make a list of skills that are important to you and work towards perfecting them during your free time.

Our founder, Lori MacNeill, has suggested three websites that aid in skill building. Use them this summer to help work towards building your ideal list of skills. I know I will!


What are some skills you’ve always wanted to learn? Comment below or tag @careeronward on instagram with #buildingskills

Making The Most Of Summer – Must Read Books

Summer is the perfect time to read books that you consider must-reads. Whether you want to dive into a fictional book for entertainment or a self-help book to gain skills, there are a number of reasons reading is worth your time. Check out this link to find out some of those reasons as well as a list of suggested books that are essential for college students.

Our founder, Lori MacNeill, has compiled a list of a few great books that she believes are worth your attention.

1. Daring Greatly by Brene Brown
Overview: “In Daring Greatly, Dr. Brown challenges everything we think we know about vulnerability. Based on twelve years of research, she argues that vulnerability is not weakness, but rather our clearest path to courage, engagement, and meaningful connection. The book that Dr. Brown’s many fans have been waiting for, Daring Greatly will spark a new spirit of truth—and trust—in our organizations, families, schools, and communities.”

2. StrengthsFinder 2.0 by Tom Rath
Overview: “In StrengthsFinder 2.0, Gallup unveils the new and improved version of its popular online assessment. With hundreds of strategies for applying your strengths, StrengthsFinder 2.0 will change the way you look at yourself — and the world — forever.”

3. Give and Take: A Revolutionary Approach to Success by Adam Grant
Overview: “For generations, we have focused on the individual drivers of success: passion, hard work, talent, and luck. But today, success is increasingly dependent on how we interact with others. It turns out that at work, most people operate as either takers, matchers, or givers. Whereas takers strive to get as much as possible from others and matchers aim to trade evenly, givers are the rare breed of people who contribute to others without expecting anything in return. Using his own pioneering research as Wharton’s youngest tenured professor, Grant shows that these styles have a surprising impact on success.”

4. Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap…and Others Don’t by Jim Collins
Overview: “The findings of the Good to Great study will surprise many readers and shed light on virtually every area of management strategy and practice.”

What are some books on your must-read list? Let us know in the comments below or tag @careeronward on instagram with #mustread