Prepare for the Fair

Check back in late fall for the 2019 Prepare for the Fair Guide! 

Students and Alumni: not sure how to get ready for the Fair? Read the Prepare for the Fair 2018 guide and email with any questions! 

Prepare for the Fair 2018

Need help writing a resume and cover letter?

  • DOWNLOAD Guide to Writing Cover Letters.
  • DOWNLOAD Guide to Building Your Resume.

Need more information on internships? 

BEFORE the Fair

Research employers prior to meeting them

  • Participating companies and organizations have provided  profiles and descriptions of available opportunities such as full-time positions, part-time positions, and internships. Knowing the mission and function of the organization will give you more time to present your portfolio, talk about how you can contribute to their organization, and ask specific questions. Click on the blog tab to learn more about the employers, or use the categories on the right to view by discipline.

Attend the Center for Career Development’s Drop-in Hours to review your resume and cover letter:

  • Tuesdays and Thursdays from 2-4pm in Gateway 200.

Learn how to give a good interview (including how to prepare, how to dress, and other etiquette)

Practice interviewing 

  • Sign up for a mock interview with an alumni or staff member that will better prepare you to meet with employers. Mock Interviews will be held on Friday, February 23rd from 3:30 to 5:00 PM in ABOX.
  • Not sure if you’re ready for a mock interview? Attend the Interview 101: Learn the Basics of Interviewing presentation on February 23 from 3-3:30pm in Leake Lecture Hall. Career Development staff will give you a quick rundown of interview tips, tricks, and resources.
  • If you register for a mock interview, you will be paired with a MICA alum or staff member for a 30 minute interview: 20 minutes of Q&A, and 10 minutes of feedback. After the interview, you will also receive written feedback from the interviewer about your strengths and areas for improvement. Registration is required via 

DURING the Fair

Be yourself!

  • Confidence, a positive attitude, and willingness to learn can go a long way.  Make eye contact, give a firm handshake, and be respectful in your body language.

Bring Professional Materials to present yourself to employers.

  • Bring approximately 10-20 resumes. Have as many people as you can proofread your resume for spelling, grammar, and clarity.
  • Optional materials are business cards and artist postcards.
  • Bring a notepad or sketchbook and pen. Keep track of whom you are visiting and meeting. Take names of employers you speak with, so you can follow up with them at a later date.

Bring a Portfolio if you are interested in applying for a design-related job or internship. There are 2 ways to bring a portfolio:

  • PRINT: A print portfolio should be small, manageable in size and include physical examples of your work. This can be a folder with sleeves, or you can make your own folder or portfolio. If you show reproductions of work, document/photograph it well!
  • DIGITAL: Digital portfolios are less expensive, and work well for showing time-based, web-based or interactive work. Bring your own (fully charged) laptop and make sure that your portfolio is ready to navigate.

Know the employers you want to speak with and research them using the Internship + Career Fair blog and the employer’s website.  Look for the About Us or Mission to learn more about the size and scope of the organization.  Is the company regional, national, international?  Where are they located and who are their clients or customers?  What trends are happening in this industry?  What is their mission/purpose?

Dress professionally for the fair. It is always best to err on the side of overdressed–it shows an employer that you take them seriously and have made an effort to make a good first impression. Not conservative? Artsy/creative dress is fine, as long as you are clean and neat!

Create an “elevator pitch” to talk about your background and how it connects to what the organization’s need. You will have less than one minute to tell them who you are and express your interest in their organization.

Prepare 2-3 questions for each employer for any lull in the conversation.  This setting is for you to learn more about them too!

  • Do Ask:
    • What qualities are you looking for in the person you hire for this position?
    • Can you tell me more about the specific job responsibilities of this position?
    • What are the new directions your organization is going in?  What are your next big projects?
    • What is the work environment like?
  • Don’t Ask 
    • What does your company do? (You should know)
    • How much will I be making? (Appropriate to discuss before you accept an offer)
    • What is the vacation/leave time like? (Appropriate to discuss before you accept an offer)

Take breaks between visiting tables and refocus yourself for your next conversation.  Career Center staff will be on hand to give you a quick pep talk.

Don’t feel like you have to accept any position if offered on the spot.  Thank them graciously for the offer, reiterate your interest, but ask if you can send them an email the following day. On the other hand, Be honest. Learn to “spin” your weak areas into areas for you to grow.  Share your enthusiasm to learn, or discuss a project/program you are currently working on to improve in this area.

AFTER the Fair

Follow up all of your conversations with a thank you note via email or mail, within 48 hours, reinforcing your interest in the position.


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