Career Fair Preparation Resource Doc


The 30 Second Elevator Pitch

An elevator speech is a clear, brief message or “commercial” about you. It communicates who you are, what you’re looking for and how you can benefit a company or organization. It’s typically about 30 seconds, the time it takes people to ride from the top to the bottom of a building in an elevator. (The idea behind having an elevator speech is that you are prepared to share this information with anyone, at any time, even in an elevator.) At a career fair, you can use your speech to introduce yourself to employers. It is important to have your speech memorized and practiced. Rehearse your 30 second elevator speech with a friend or in front of a mirror. The important thing is to practice it OUT LOUD. You want it to sound natural. Get comfortable with what you have to say so you can breeze through it when the time comes.



    1. Smile to your counterpart, and open with a statement or question that grabs attention: a hook that prompt your listener to ask questions.
    2. Tell who you are: describe yourself and your school/major.
    3. Tell what you do and show enthusiasm. (ex. Hobbies, accomplishments, etc.)


    1. Tell what problems have solved or contributions you have made.
    2. Offer a vivid example.
    3. Tell why you are interested in your listener.


    1. Tell what very special service, product or solutions you can offer him or her.
    2. What are the advantages of working with you? In what do you differ from competitive companies?


    1. Give a concrete example or tell a short story, show your uniqueness and provide illustrations on how you work.


    1. What is the most wanted response after your elevator speech? Do you want a business card, a referral or an appointment for a presentation after your elevator speech?


Someone with a lot of professional experience (co-op, internship, etc.):

Hi, my name is Lydia Whipple, I am a senior studying Supply Chain Management with a minor in Spanish. I am really looking for a full-time role in [insert area in SCM of interest] and noticed you had XXX position available. In my previous experiences with [insert past internship(s), research, job(s), etc.] I learned [something that relates to the role that you liked] and I wanted to understand more about XXX position and your experience as well with YYY company.

Hi, my name is Megan Barry, and I am a junior studying supply chain management at Michigan State. This past summer I worked at Stryker Orthopedics with the distribution team, and gained valuable insight into the logistics side of their supply chain. My main project at Stryker revolved around parcel size analysis, where I designed strategic box sizes to decrease freight spending, the projected savings for this project exceed $1.2 million dollars per year. I was able to utilize my skills in Data Analytics to pull and filter mass data into a meaningful context. This summer I am looking for an opportunity to build on my knowledge and to gain exposure into the procurement side of supply chain, and I am open to all industries. Outside of class, I am very involved in the Supply Chain Management Association, where I serve as the Director of External Relations coordinating all alumni and community outreach events. and I am an avid Michigan State football fan.

Someone with little  professional experience Elevator Pitch:

Hey, my name is Charles and I’m a freshman pursuing a degree in supply chain management. Currently on campus, I’m involved with the SCMA and attend biweekly meetings learning about real life supply chain projects. After learning more about ______, I’ve developed a strong interest in ____ and especially your internship program. I would love to learn more your internship program and If you had any questions regarding my resume, please feel free to ask.

Nice to meet you, I’m Maddy Zettler. I am a freshman at MSU pursuing Supply Chain Management. Although I don’t have experience working in Supply Chain, in the past I have worked at First American Title Insurance which has allowed me to hone my communication especially working cross-functionally with different departments. I volunteer with the Capital Human Society when possible, and I also enjoy attending networking events and case studies through the Supply Chain Management Association. I am interested in ULTA company because I grew up using the products and I am passionate about how they source sustainable products and are working towards a zero-carbon footprint by 2030. I am currently looking for an internship that will truly challenge me to grow. I was curious how ULTA selects their projects for the internship to ensure that an intern’s project has a true impact.

10-minute conversation


Do Your Networking Homework!

You should be ready to talk about yourself and ask informed and specific questions about your contact during a networking conversation. This requires some research ahead of time. Familiarize yourself with your contact’s professional background and current affiliations so you can build your questions from this information, connect with your contact on similarities and demonstrate the level of time and attention you’ve given to preparing for the conversation.

Resources for gathering in-depth information about your contacts include (but are not limited to): LinkedIn profiles, company websites (particularly the staff or team pages), professional bios, publications written by your contact(s) and articles/news about them or their company.

If something in a contact’s background strikes you as particularly interesting or similar to something in your own life, make a note of it and ask more about it when meeting with them.

Purpose of the meeting

Your goal shouldn’t be to try and get hired right on the spot. Instead, you want to introduce yourself to this person, tell them a little about your background and most importantly make sure to get their contact information. You want to look at being hired like building a house, it all starts with a strong foundation. The career fair is the opportunity to start that foundation.

Once you meet that person you can then follow up with a call or email with your information and why you would like to be considered for their opening. Treat this meeting as an opening to discussions around your background and not the interview that lands you the job.

Don’t Be Shy

As you approach each table, be friendly, be confident, and be prepared with something to say. Introduce yourself with a smile, eye contact, and a brief, firm handshake. Often, the recruiter will take the lead and ask you questions, but you should also have your elevator pitch ready. To really use your time wisely, you should be able to concisely convey why you’re interested in the particular company and how your skills or qualifications suit the position.

Here are some great questions you can ask:

  • What types of strengths and experience do you look for in new hires?
  • How would you describe the organizational culture?
  • How long does the hiring process take and what does it consist of?
  • What type of training or ongoing professional development does the organization provide?
  • Can you describe important projects that you’re working on now?
  • What skills does a candidate need to perform well in this role?
  • Name a few challenges that a candidate may face in this position?
  • Is this a new position?
  • What training opportunities do you offer to employees?
  • How does the company evaluate the performance of employees?
  • Can you discuss how your role has changed since you’ve started working for the organization?
  • Where do you see the company going in the next three to five years?
  • What is the most exciting part about working in this role?
  • What is a typical career path for someone working in this position?

Remember to Follow-Up

Whenever possible, send a follow-up email that same day to everyone that you met with. Don’t copy and paste, though -it’s OK for your messages to be short, but you’ll want to personalize them to each company and recruiter.

Within 24-48 hours of the career fair, send a thank you note to each person you met with, whether you’re interested in the company or not. Even though they will have just received your email, reiterate your appreciation for their time with a note, and always be sure you include an offer that lets them know you are happy to be of help to them as well. Who knows—the next time you go to one of these things, the recruiter you met representing an unimpressive company could be working for your dream employer!

If you indicate you will be connecting again with them the following week, be sure you do. Also, if you had a substantial connection with someone you met there, consider sending him or her a personalized LinkedIn connection request.


The purpose of a resume is to introduce yourself to employers, present your qualifications, and convey your intent to apply for a job to your prospective employer. The goal of writing a resume is to showcase your experience, education, and skills in a standardized format that is easy for recruiters to read. Regardless of the number of hours you put into writing up your resume, your prospective employers may only glance at it for a few seconds before they decide whether or not to grant you an interview. Therefore, another purpose of your resume is to introduce you to your prospective employers and let you communicate your most important assets to them.

Your resume provides details of your working life. This includes all the jobs you have held, as well as a list of skills that you have developed throughout your career and education. However, keep in mind that your resume is not your biography. On average, an employer takes at most 20 seconds to screen all incoming resumes and at most 20 minutes once a resume is selected. Therefore, you have to be concise and clear, and highlight all the academic and work experiences that make the employer think that you are qualified for a particular job.

List of Verbs – Use powerful verbs to start each bullet (description of what you did)


  • Omit high school information by mid sophomore year
  • Send your resume as a pdf (.pdf) not a word file (.docx)
  • Have at least three people proof it:
    • Palmer Career Center
    • Professional in the field (professor or supervisor)
    • Personal “cheerleader” (family, friend or mentor)
  • Save your resume document with your name (Ex. “Smith John – Resume” or “John_Smith_Resume”)
  • If you use a LinkedIn Link within your resume, make sure that you customize the link to take out the extra numbers at the end and make it look cleaner! You can do this under your Profile on the LinkedIn website.
  • Organize your bullets for a job in order from most impressive to least à this way they see the most impressive thing you did first!
  • Mix Up Your Word Use à If every bullet in your resume starts with “Responsible for,” readers will get bored very quickly.
  • Quantify your experiences, for instance, “Collaborated with 10+ stakeholders to save over $10,000 in spend on products”. There is a big difference between working with 1 stakeholder and 10 stakeholders, etc.


Additional Resources: