SIAM News Blog

Preparing for the MDS22 Career Fair

SIAM members have the quantitative, mathematical, computing, and analytical skills that are needed in today’s marketplace. SIAM Career Fairs facilitate important introductions between employers and prospective employees. Employers meet skilled members of the SIAM community and job seekers connect with employers looking for top talent. The next SIAM Career Fair is happening in San Diego, California on September 29, 2022, at 9:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. and 1:45 p.m. – 4:15 p.m. PDT, during the SIAM Conference on Mathematics of Data Science. Don't miss the chance to make valuable contacts and speak with knowledgeable individuals from a range of organizations! Learn more


  • Do your homework. Check the SIAM Career Fairs webpage to see a list of the organizations and companies that will be represented. Do an initial review of the represented organizations' career webpages. Most will have them. Make a list of organizations that you are interested in by priority.
  • Read the BIG Jobs Guide: Business, Industry, and Government Careers for Mathematical Scientists, Statisticians, and Operations Researchers. Jobs using mathematics, statistics, and operations research are projected to grow by almost 30% over the next decade. The BIG Jobs Guide helps job seekers at every stage of their careers in these fields explore opportunities in business, industry, and government (BIG). 
  • Prepare your résumé carefully. Student résumés will be emailed to employers exhibiting at the career fair one week in advance of the event. Résumés received after the deadline will not be included in the mailing. Résumés must be formatted according to the guidelines provided by SIAM. Learn more and submit your résumé here.
  • Bring along a more detailed résumé or your curriculum vitae (CV). In case you are asked for one. If at this stage you are looking for a job or an internship, tailor your résumé to your needs. It is important to have a well-polished résumé that shows off your education, skills, and experiences. Have your résumé reviewed by more than one person.
    • If you don't have a detailed résumé, it is still better to attend without one than to not attend at all. Your conversations with representatives can still provide you with pertinent information about an organization that may be useful to you later.
  • Have a plan. It is easy to feel intimidated at such an event and coming in without being fully prepared will exacerbate that feeling. Research who will be present, prepare questions and stories, and think about your goals for participating ahead of time.
  • Bring your questions. You should always have questions prepared for these conversations, regardless of what stage of the process you are in. Sample questions include:
    • What qualities and background are you looking for in employees?
    • What is the application process for your organization?
    • Do you have or anticipate opportunities that fit my timeline and background?
  • Additional resources. Check out our additional career-related resources, the like 'Careers in Applied Mathematics' brochure and SIAM Job Board. 

During the Event

  • Dress appropriately. SIAM conferences are business/professional casual. However, when in doubt, it is always better to err on the professional side for a career fair.
  • Introduce yourself. Express enthusiasm and interest. Employers expect attendees to take the first step. If you are unsure how you would fit into the organization, ask the employer open-ended yet specific questions.
  • Hand out your résumé. Have plenty of copies in case you choose to distribute it.
  • Thank employers. Make sure to thank them for their time and for any brochures or promotional materials you were given.
  • Collect business cards. Jot down a fact about the company or who you spoke to on the back of their business card to jog your memory when you write a follow-up letter.
  • Don't monopolize a representative. Remember that other people will be waiting. If there seems to be mutual interest, ask to arrange for a one-on-one meeting later in the day, such as during a coffee break.

After the Event

  • Do not ignore follow-up. Keep track of those companies and representatives with whom you spoke.
  • Send a thank you letter. Send a follow-up letter to the representatives of the organizations you wish to pursue. This will set the stage for future correspondence.

Things You Shouldn't Worry About

It is expected that you will visit more than one organization, so don't worry about a representative noticing that you visit with other organizations. This is all about investigating your options.

If you don't get an immediate response to your follow-up with an organization that you are interested in and that seemed interested in you, don't worry. More than one person is involved in hiring decisions and this sometimes takes time. However, following up a second time, perhaps using different mediums (email and phone), is acceptable and recommended.

Learn more about the upcoming SIAM Career Fair and access additional resources. 

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