Last Wednesday, I attended my last career fair as an undergraduate student on Ball State’s campus.
If you would have even mouthed the words “career fair” too close to me about two years ago, I would’ve probably run very fast in the opposite direction. This time around I took a different approach – I took advantage.
I stood in line for some free, much-needed professional headshots. After that I explored the fair. I initially came to scope out Indiana INTERNnet’s table and show some love, but it took me a while to find. After walking past too many swag bags to count I decided it was time to act.
I gravitated to a table for a company called Impact, an IT company mainly looking for entry-level sales representatives (if I remember correctly). The table was covered in a deep red tablecloth and their display was interesting, so I stopped. The Impact representative approached me for some polite conversation and offered me some swag from her table, which I graciously accepted. We shook hands and parted ways. That wasn’t so bad.
I had been consciously avoiding professional networking out of anxiety. But after that initial conversation I felt liberated. Networking isn’t a scary thing. Before I knew it, I was stopping at almost every table with people around to listen. I found myself discussing about not only my career interests but my passions with complete strangers—and they listened! I obtained recommendations and contact information from people who just wanted to help me out solely based on our conversation.
So I did the public relations thing. I spoke to everyone I could even when I knew their organization had absolutely nothing to do with the type of jobs I was looking for. The result was very satisfying.
Moral of the story—networking works! So, for all my self-proclaimed introverts, I encourage you to attend your school’s next on-campus career fair and show the world what you’re made of.