Career Services panel offers career fair preparation advice


Photo courtesy of Career Services

Career Services hosted a virtual event where employers gave out expert advice on how to prepare for upcoming career fairs.

Editor’s Note: Due to inclement weather, the Career Fair has been postponed from Feb. 2 to Tuesday, Feb. 22 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Oakland Center.

On Jan. 27, Career Services hosted an event where employers gave out expert advice on how to prepare for a career fair. With Oakland University’s in-person career fair scheduled for 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Feb. 2 in the Oakland Center, and their virtual career fair on Feb. 3 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., Career Services is offering many chances for employers to come in and give advice to students on how to be ready.

Career Services consultants Denise McConkey and Emily Cutlip hosted a panel discussion, asking questions to help students. The panel consisted of Anna Anderson from OU Credit Union, Jeffrey Granat, an Oakland County HR Analyst and Gianna DiLisio from Hall Financial. Each panelist discussed the importance of standing out to employers. 

McConkey: What are some things students can do to make sure they’re ready? 

DiLisio: “Reach out to people already employed at the company. Do your research to be prepared. Take time to think about who you want to speak with. Look at those participating in the career fair. Go on LinkedIn and make sure to ask questions.” 

Granat: “It’s very important to do research on the company. It’s important to know what you’re looking for and what values you add to the company — making sure the values there align with yours. You can see what their mission is — prepare ahead of time by going on their website.” 

How do you suggest students dress for a recruiting event? 

Granat: “It depends on what company they want to meet. Some companies are super casual. I would probably be professional. If you’re a gentleman, you’ll want to dress in a suit and maybe a tie. I’d rather be overdressed than underdressed. It lets them know that you’re taking it seriously too.”  

Anderson: “Everyone has their own image of bringing yourself to work. Bringing your best, whatever that means for you. Whatever makes you feel the most confident in whatever space you’re going in. What makes you feel like your best. You know, I think it’s different for everyone. I think it also depends on the environment. It’s not a one-size-fits-all.” 

What is an appropriate background for a virtual setting? 

DiLisio: “We primarily do our interviews virtually, so most take place over zoom. Be mindful of what’s going on in the background if you have family members or pets around in the background. There’s a really awesome blur setting in zoom, but you can also place on backgrounds. Maybe show your flair, things that you’re interested in.”  

Granat: “Try to find a quiet place to focus. You can concentrate, not have a lot of distractions behind you. Make sure it’s neat, and do your thing.” 

What would you advise students to include in their elevator pitch? 

Granat: “What makes you you? Keep it short, but let them know about your skills and values. Even if you don’t have a lot of work experience, it doesn’t mean you don’t have value.” 

Anderson: “What are you interested in? You’re most likely doing unique things outside of classes. Don’t make it a five minute speech, utilize your time to have a valuable conversation. Make it organic. Make it fun.”