Candidate Information

Before the Fair

1. Update your resume and bring copies

  • Connect with your career services office ( to review your resume and find resume writing resources.
  • Make at least 15 copies of your resume and have them ready to bring to the fair. Keep a digital copy of your resume in case you are directed to apply online.  

2. Do your research

  • Find out what organizations will be at the fair on GoldPASS powered by Handshake and download The Fairs App!!
  • Review employers by industry above!
  • Create a list of organizations you are most interested in speaking with at the fair.
  • Spend time researching the organizations on your list:
  • Use the information you learned from your research to develop questions to ask employers at the fair.
  • Show interest and prepare a few questions to ask the recruiter.

3. Prepare and practice your introduction

  • Your introduction should include your name, major, year in school, your interest in the organization and the kind of positions you are seeking. Ideally this is less than one minute.
  • Practice your introduction out loud before the fair so you are comfortable and confident when you meet employers.

4. Build your confidence

  • You are amazing, so tell your story! Employers at the fair are excited to talk with you and want to know how you are qualified for their positions.
  • Identify your unique interests, strengths, skills, and experiences and get clear on the value you bring to an organization.
  • Review:

5. Dress for success

  • Plan ahead and have professional clothing to wear to the fair - similar to what you'd wear for a formal interview.
    • Suit, tailored dress, blazer with pants or a skirt
    • Conservative accessories, hair, and shoes.
    • Clean and well groomed
  • Need ideas? Check out the Career Fair Success Pinterest board for examples of business formal clothing options.
  • Need assistance purchasing professional attire? See information below in Accommodations.

6. Plan to use your time at the fair wisely

  • The fair will be large, and there may be lines at the booths of some employers. It's best to plan ahead to make sure you know where to find employers that interest you the most.
  • Download the  GoldPASS powered by Handshake App to view employers attending and locations at the fair.

At The Fair

1. Start off strong

  • Arrive early to ensure you have time to visit your top organizations
  • Wear business formal attire and comfortable shoes
  • Stay focused by turning your phone on silent
  • Get your free professional headshot photo taken to use on LinkedIn and other social media (Line closes at 3:40 so get there early!!)
  • Learn about the organizations at the fair on GoldPASS powered by Handshake and download The Fairs App!!

2. Communicate effectively with employers

  • Employers are excited to meet with you! Show enthusiasm and positive body language (smiling, head nodding, open stance, eye contact) when you approach the organization's representatives.
  • Introduce yourself and be prepared to give the employer your resume.
  • Be positive and confident in what you have to offer the employer.
  • Be clear and concise. You have limited time with each employer.
  • Demonstrate your knowledge of the field/organization.
  • Highlight your relevant experiences.
  • Say "Thank you!"

3. Prepare for follow-up

  • Take notes on your conversations including details on how to follow-up with the employer.
  • Ask for the employer's business card so that you have their contact information.

After the Fair

1. Send a thank you

  • Send tailored thank you emails to the employers you connected with at the fair.
  • Mention any unique points you discussed so the employer will remember you.
  • Reiterate your qualifications and include any information you neglected to mention at the fair.
  • Proofread your email and have someone else look it over.

2. Follow-up and apply online

  • Complete any other follow-up items the employers indicated, including applying for positions online.

International Student Info

We understand that being an international student seeking career experience in the U.S. presents some unique challenges. (As one who will eventually require sponsorship to continue work in the U.S. beyond CPT and OPT.)

To help you respond to those challenges, we have prepared a few resources that are specific to the international student experience at job fairs:

  • Read all of the information in “Prepare for the Fair.” 
  • Read all of the resources outlined here for International Students.
  • Register for an International Student Career Fair Preparation Workshop. 
  • Visit your college career center for a resume review, to practice introducing yourself, and to resolve any additional questions about the fair.

For further career information and resources for international students, please visit the Career Services website

International Student Career Fair Preparation Workshops

  • In preparation for the UMN Job and Internship Fair, International Student Career Fair Preparation Workshops will be offered three times. For more information, please the "International Careers" Facebook page or email Jane Sitter at [email protected]

ISSS Information Table

Be sure to visit the International Student and Scholar Services table at the fair for information about work authorizations options for students with an F-1 or J-1 visa.

*ISSS counselors will offer short CPT and OPT information sessions at the UMN Job & Internship Fair on 2/28 in the Student Lounge.  

Research International Friendly Employers

Identify employers who have expressed a willingness to consider international applicants for their positions. Learn more about thePDF icon International Students Flag System

Career Fair Check List for International Students

  • Approach recruiters one at a time.
  • Begin with an introduction that emphasizes your qualifications. 
  • Showcase the research you have done about the company, and your fit with the company.
  • Ask questions that will get a conversation started, and let the employer learn what you bring beyond being an international student.

Answering common employer questions about sponsorship

"Do you need sponsorship?" or "Do you need work authorization?"

  • "My education visa covers me for internships. I don't need any authorization or sponsorship from an employer."
  • "My education visa covers me for X months during which time I do not need authorization or sponsorship from my employer. After that I would need my employer to file for a work visa, but I expect by that time to have really demonstrated my value and my fit for your company."
  • "I would not require sponsorship or any additional paperwork or expense to work for you as an intern. If, as I hope happens, I do such a great job that you want to keep me on for full time, then I would ultimately need sponsorship."