On January 22, 2015, SCMA will host the 21st annual Supply Chain Management Career fair. The fair will be located at the Breslin Student Event Center. This highly anticipated event attracts recruiters from 130 companies from all around the US. The companies range from large Fortune 500 corporations to small- and medium-sized businesses.

The career fair is a student-run event that dates back to the 1980s. It started with just 49 companies in the Kellogg center before outgrowing numerous locations. Students on the executive board of SCMA begin planning over a year in advance. More intense planning begins the summer before when employer registration opens and invitations are sent out.

“Two of the biggest logistical considerations are in regards to parking and handling of companies inbound and outbound packages. Parking for recruiters and students can often be chaotic especially on interview day, this year we are trying to reduce that by using shuttles between the parking lot and interviews” says Megan Kuhn, SCMA Career Fair Director. Planning the event is a huge undertaking, according to Kuhn, “The most rewarding part for us is giving everyone the opportunity to get full-time jobs and internships.  It makes all our hard work worth it, when someone lands their dream job.”

Career fair admission is free to all SCMA members. Nonmembers of the MSU student community are welcome to attend with a charge of $5.00 for freshman, $10 for sophomores, juniors, seniors, and $15 for MBA students. Non-MSU students are also welcome to attend, with an admission fee of $20.

If an SCM major has not yet joined SCMA there is still time to join and receive free entrance to the career fair. For students to maximize their time at career fair Kuhn says “It is important to plan out which companies students want to speak with. There are approximately 130 companies and only a few hours, so it’s good to come in with a rough idea of whom you want to target. In addition, be sure to do some research beforehand to be aware of what each company that you’re planning to speak with does to eliminate time spent researching the day of. Students should bring resumes, a smile, eye contact, confidence, and wear a suit.”

SCMA will be having mock interviews prior to the career fair where students will be able to practice their interviewing skills with real recruiters from some of the MSU SCM Council companies. Keep an eye out for more information on this opportunity by visiting the SCMA website!

Tips for a successful career fair

  • Bring many resume copies to submit to employers. Make sure you have enough copies of your resume; between 20 and 30 is usually sufficient. Be sure to include your phone number and e-mail address on your resume.
  • Come prepared. Before the fair, review the online directory of employers and their job opportunities by visiting the SCMA website. Spend a little time getting some background on an organization, and then ask very focused and specific questions.
  • Dress appropriately. First impressions are important. Wear a suit and keep the look professional and well groomed.
  • Allow adequate time. Come as early as possible and allow time to return between classes. Fairs close promptly at publicized ending times to accommodate employers’ travel arrangements.
  • Get your bearings. When arriving, take a few minutes to review the map and directory for the fair. Perhaps quickly locate and walk by the employers of most interest. This will confirm their location and allow preparation for crowds or lines of other students waiting.
  • Prioritize the employers of most interest. Highlight and prioritize those you are most interested in so you can organize your time efficiently. Instead of standing in line to talk to a particular employer, circulate and come back later.
  • Introductions and preparation for a “career pitch.” Extend your hand, say “hello” and state your name. Welcome the representative to MSU. Have your resume ready to give to the employer. Be ready to talk about career interests as well as academic and extracurricular experiences to demonstrate skills and strengths.
  • Ask the representative for his/her card, and then promptly email a thank-you note. Having the business card of the representative you have just spoken with serves three purposes. First, you have direct contact with the organization, including the proper spelling of the representative’s name, direct telephone line, etc. Second, a brief thank-you note acknowledges the help they gave you and the time they took to visit campus. Third, sending thank-you notes is a good professional habit.
  • Be courteous! In addition to representing yourself, you also represent your department and the University. All of the organizations at the fair are there because of their interest in hiring MSU SCM students. Some representatives are MSU alumni. Demonstrate sensitivity to other students waiting to speak with employers by keeping your questions brief and offering to continue your conversation at a later time. Enjoy the fair and your interaction with the employers.