Behrend Reacts: How do you leave a strong impression at a career fair?


By Steve Orbanek
Marketing Communications Specialist, Penn State Behrend

They say first impressions are everything, and attendees at Thursday’s Spring Career and Internship Fair at Penn State Behrend would probably agree.

Hundreds of Penn State Behrend students lined up to mingle with more than 150 employers at the career fair. They were dressed to impress from head to toe, and they all shared a similar goal: land an internship or job.

We asked some students how they set out to make a strong impression at career fairs.

Robert Surrena

Robert Surrena, senior, Mechanical Engineering: “It’s just one of those things I was taught as a little kid. Step one, you walk up, look the employer in the eye, and then shake his or her hand.”

Ryan Price

Ryan Price, senior, Electrical Engineering: “It’s important to just be confident and do your prep work.”

Michael Cochran

Michael Cochran, sophomore, Broadcast Journalism: “Just try to be unique. I tried to connect with them on a personal level and see what they have to offer.”

Zachary Naples

Zachary Naples, sophomore, Petroleum and Natural Gas Engineering: “I just try to make good eye contact, have a firm handshake, and ask good questions.”

Hannah Kelly

Hannah Kelly, sophomore, Petroleum and Natural Gas Engineering: “I make sure that I dress professionally. When I walk up to employers, I smile, shake their hand, and look like I’m interested in their company.”

Kristine Campbell

Kristine Campbell, junior, Chemistry: “I think it’s important to dress professionally. Another good thing is to have copies of your résumé and make sure they’re accurate.”

Brian Wilking

Brian Wilking, junior, Accounting: “The key is being able to come across as a professional but also showing that I am different from everyone else and can be an asset to their team.”

Michael Boadu

Michael Boadu, senior, Political Science: “I always believe that your first impression makes the difference. Rather than reading from a book about what you have to do, it’s better to just be natural.”

Sarah Green

Sarah Green, sophomore, Mechanical Engineering: “It’s important to introduce yourself, say what your talents are, and ask questions instead of just having them ask you questions.”

Gillian Groff

Gillian Groff, senior, Management Information Systems: “It’s important to be confident in yourself when you go up to employers and make sure they know what you’re looking for. Experience also really does help.”

Behrend Reacts is a regular Thursday feature at the Behrend Blog that tries to get the campus pulse on a current topic, whether it’s serious or trivial. If you have a question to suggest for Behrend Reacts, please email Steve Orbanek at

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