Fall Job Fair: Students & Alumni

Employers will be on-campus for Columbia College's Fall Part-Time Job Fair on October 6, 2015.  This event is open to all Columbia College students and alumni.  Employers from a diverse range of business sectors will be in attendance spanning various industries.  All jobs will be paid opportunities where you may build your resume, work experience, and earn supplemental income.  Resumes are required at this event to give you the best chance of landing a great job.

Need to update your resume?  The Portfolio Cener is here to help.  Attend one of our Resume Labs, come by during our walk-in hours, or contact us to schedule an appointment.  We're located at 623 S. Wabash, Room 307.

Before the big event, take some time to prepare so that you can leave the event with job leads.

  • Attend the Job Fair Walk-In Prep Day on September 29, 2015 from 10am - 2pm for resume reviews, mock interview strategies and to go over general job fair questions.
  • Follow these tips below on how to get the most out of a job fair and watch the quick video above.

Want to see what companies and jobs will be available at the event? Click here.


Prep starts long before the actual fair. When attending a job or career fair it's important to know what's expected of you as an attendee, how to prepare, and how to get a job offer.  Always look at a job or career fair as a chance to brush up on your networking and small talk skills, and connect with employers for an opportunity to build your resume, work experience, and of course, make some money.  Below are some guidelines to help you maximize your job fair experience and get hired.  Although for this particular event some of these items aren't required, these tips and suggestions will definitely help you stand out from a crowd of hundreds of other students and alumni.

Update your resume Update your resume

Be sure your resume is polished and up to date.  Have it reviewed by at least one professional.  Print at least 10-15 copies to have on hand to share with your employers or if they ask for it. Even if an employer doesn't take your resume and rather you fill out an application, you'll want to have employment or work history dates on hand.

Polish your portfolio Polish your portfolio

Although it may not be required, you may want to have your portfolio standing by or easily accessible.  Talking abobut your work just doesn't have the same impact as showing it.  compile your work and consider having it reviewed beforehand.  Make work samples availablle - either hard copy or digital - the day of the fair.

Print business cards Print business cards

Business cards are another tool that could make you more memorable.  These also compliment your resume.  Plus, you will occasionally encounter a recruiter who won't accept resumes on the spot.  This way, you've got something professional to leave behind.

Prepare your pitch Prepare your pitch

Few of us are inherently good at selling ourselves, so it’s wise to take some time to practice. Brainstorm a short, 30 second summary that you can use when you introduce yourself to professionals. Include your past experience, strengths, and your future goals.

Research the company Research the companies

This is not a craft fair! Don't "shop" an employer by asking them what the company does.  Take into consideration the employer's time.  They've likely taken the day out of the office to be there and meet interested candidates.  You should approach professionals with knowledge about what they do.  Check back on our website for a list of employers and their job offers.  Start by digging around the complany website.  check their "careers" page to gather info about open positions (but keep in mind that many jobs are not openly posted).  Look at their client list and recent projects.  Read industry publications and blogs to see what others are saying aout them.  Our Career Research pages will also give you clues on where to start. 

Make an Impression

The big day is here - Get Ready!  It may seem overwhelming when you first get there.  You won't be as nervous if you scope out the jobs and do as much company research ahead of time.  Other things to take into consideration are making plans to eat breakfast or lunch so you don't have to cut out early or arrive too late because you're hungry.  Bring a pen and a notepad to write things down.  Charge your phone if you need to access anything online or snap photos to help you remember.

Dress the part Dress the part

While you probably don’t need to wear a full suit, you shouldn’t wander in wearing sweat pants either. A nice pair of pants/skirt and a nice shirt will show that you take this seriously.  Interview attire can be modified by opting for comfortable shoes and foregoing the full on suit, blazer or tie to give you a cleanded up, less than casual appearance.

Strategize Strategize

Many businesses and organizations will be in attendance, but you won't have time to meet them all.  Decide before you arrive whom you want to meet first.  When you get there, take a minute to become oriented with the space.  Look for a faculty or staff member if you don't know where to start.

Handshake Flex that handshake

When you arrive, companies will be at tables waiting to meet you.  your interactions will go something like this:  Approach and give a firm (but not crushing) handshake.  Launch with your short introduction, then segue into a question such as: What kind of talent are you looking for?  Who is the ideal candidate?  What's the application process or how may I apply?  They will likely give you a rundown of company and hiring information, and ask you about the work you do.  Depending on the individual, and the size of the crowd, this interaction will only last five minutes, maybe less.

Think ahead Think ahead

It's always okay to ask what the next step should be.  Some companies will accept your resume on the spot; others will require that you apply online.  Whatever they advise, try to snag a business card and make notes about next steps.


What you do after the fair is as important as what you did the day of.

Follow directions Follow directions

Did they ask you to apply online? Email them a resume and work samples? Do it- immediately. If you wait more than 24 hours, you may have missed your chance. For jobs based within your industry, it's wise to email a cover letter with a resume attached (and a link to your web portfolio).

Land an informational interview Land an informational interview

You may have met some companies didn't have current job openings in your area of interest.  Think long term.  If you got their contact info, follow up to ask if you can have 20 minutes of their time to learn more about the company.  Expo interactions will be short, so this gives you the chance to prepare additional questions and gather information that will help you land a job down the road.

Contact the Portfolio Center for more information or questions: portfoliocenter@colum.edu Tel: (312) 369-7280