Students are ironing their suits and sprucing up their resumes in preparation for this year's Minnesota Job and Internship Fair on Thursday.

More than 2,500 students are expected to attend the career fair, open to University of Minnesota students attending all the system's campuses, as well as recent alumni.

About 215 employers are set to participate -- more than last year or the year before, but not as many as four or five years ago, said Paul Timmins, career services director at the U’s College of Liberal Arts.

"The number of employers does track pretty closely with the general perceptions of the economy," he said. "It's a small indication that we're headed in the right direction."

Timmins shared a few tips about how to prepare:

  • "Have a plan in mind. Spend a little time looking at the list of registered employers. The most focused students are the ones who have the best experience."
  • "Practice your elevator speech -- out loud. Talk to the mirror. Talk to yourself in the car. Your 60-second pitch should introduce yourself, what you're studying, what you're interested in for a career, your key skills."
  • "Do the little things to be professional. Dress professionally. Have your resume ready."
  • "Have the right expectations. Any job or career fair is, at its heart, about networking. You're not going to walk out with a job or internship, but you will walk out with connections... for when you follow up later."