As students, plenty of you don’t want to go to your college career fair. I certainly didn’t. It takes away from valuable free time, you have to change into something other than sweatpants, and spend time awkwardly interacting with people. But it wasn’t until I started representing my organization at career fairs that I gained a new perspective. Career fairs are actually incredibly important.
My Career Fair Experience
I attended career fairs maybe two or three times during college, all during my freshman or sophomore year. The only times I ever went was when my professors made me go. They made us do assignments based on the career fair (writing about our interactions, collecting a certain number of business cards, etc.). I thought going was a massive waste of time when I had such a busy schedule.
I was wrong.
Now that I occupy a position where I represent my organization at career fairs, I see my perspective was incorrect. Everyone is there not just because they have a job opening they want to fill, but because they want to help you. I honestly wish I would’ve gone to career fairs as I got closer to graduation, regardless of my packed schedule.
Career Fairs Help You Network
Networking is one of the most important things you should do, and a career fair gets all the hard work out of the way. Your school gathers a variety of professionals and puts them all in one space for several hours. This means you can speak face-to-face, make a good impression, and exchange information with as many professionals as you want.
It’s difficult to make connections if you don’t have a lot of job experience, you’re not really close with any of your professors, or your friends/family members lack professional contacts. Instead of relying on everyone else, hoping that someone will help you find a job, edit a resume, or just learn more about a career, career fairs put you in the driver’s seat.
As someone behind the table at career fairs, I can honestly tell you that it’s okay if you feel awkward trying to interact with us. We usually feel a little awkward too! But we want to help you gain confidence to succeed. So when we give you our information, we genuinely want you to reach out to us!
The staff at Indiana INTERNnet is happy to help you if you feel like you’re struggling. It can be difficult to reach out to someone who is basically a stranger, but just know that almost any professional you talk to can relate to your situation. Navigating the “real world” and your career can be difficult. We’re here to make it easier.