Getting your leading foot in the door

Successfully navigating a career fair and an interview is a key step to getting your foot in the door and starting your future.

At Oakland University, the Career Services department will give you the tips to do so, in their prep sessions.

It may seem obvious, but many students wonder how they can benefit from a career fair—especially if they are nowhere near graduating.

Even if you are not in the job market, there is never a bad time to network and get your name around. If nothing else, it is a chance to practice speaking to professionals.

To get ready for a fair: update your resume, research the companies attending and have professional attire ready to wear.


Researching a company is more than just seeing they have an open position. It is about setting yourself apart and showing that you care.

Look up interesting facts, past work, charitable events and keep up with their current news.

“Showing that you value them, makes them value you,” said Megan Tack, Oakland University Career Ambassador.

Impress the Recruiter

Most companies want you to apply online, according to the career ambassadors.

They also advise to apply for positions before the career fair. That way you can talk to the recruiter in more detail and put a face to you resume.

It is also important to work on an elevator pitch—a quick and simple summery of who you are and what makes sets you apart.

According to, “You typically have just 60 seconds to leave an exciting, impactful and meaningful impression.” 

Creating an impressive elevator pitch in those 60 seconds is what can make or break an opportunity.

How to dress

For men, wearing a neutral shirt and tie will go a long way. It is important to be well groomed—trim your beard and comb your hair.

Dark dress shoes are preferred, and your belt and shoes must match.

“Please, don’t wear white socks with dress shoes,” Tack said.

For women, wear a pant suit or a proper length skirt. Clothing should be neutral and paired with conservative shoes. Keep jewelry and makeup to a minimum—it’s about looking professional, not enticing.

At the fair

“You need to have your ID,” Tack said.

After registering, each person will receive a map.

On the map is each company and where they are located, it also shows what kind of position they are looking for.

It is recommended to bring at least ten resumes. You never know, there might be a company that catches your eye that you didn’t plan on seeing.

Go in with a purpose and show off your research. It is all about getting your name out there and separating yourself from the pack.

As Jackie Duc, Career Ambassador puts it: “Network, network, network.”

For information on upcoming events, visit