My first career fair was a trainwreck. There were long lines all around me and seniors that looked like real adults. I distinctly remember a company asking about my classes and me awkwardly talking about my first PHYS 218 class the previous week. When I left, my feet were bleeding and my confidence was low.
Flash forward to my senior year and I walked into the career fair still stressed, but ready to face the challenging day. Here are some tips I learned throughout my time of going to career fairs and interviewing.
- Skip the heels, wear flats: It’s a generic statement to wear comfortable shoes and clothes. You will likely be walking around all day and stuck in business professional attire in the extreme heat. Better to be practicing what you will say next versus limping because your feet are blistered.
- Apply to jobs beforehand: Always go to the Student Engineers’ Council (SEC) website to see which companies are coming and those that hire your major. After finding the companies you are interested in talking to, apply for their jobs ahead of time on HireAggies or their website. This shows initiative and will impress the recruiters! (Protip: applying on HireAggies is much faster than their website, so do that first and ask recruiters if you need to apply on their website.)
- Do not start with your top company: I get it. You are excited. I am too. I broke this rule my senior year when looking for a full time job (fortunately it worked out for me), but you want to start with a company where the stakes are not high.
- Bring band aids, breath mints, copies of your resume and your phone: Band-Aids for your feet, breath mints for your mouth, your phone to quickly research, and multiple resumes to give companies.
- Smile and ask recruiters how they are doing: Remember that while you are waiting in line, nervously walking around and preparing what you will say, recruiters are talking to students nonstop. Simple acts of kindness go a long way when people are exhausted.
- Ask friends to drop you off/pick you up: This is the time to use your friends who do not have classes when you are going to the career fair. Your feet will thank you!
- Ask professors to be excused from class: Some professors are more than willing to let you skip class in order to go to the career fair. I have even had professors cancel class on career fair days.
- Quality over quantity: Do not be that person that talks to the recruiter for 30 minutes when there are 15 people waiting behind you. Practice giving your elevator speech and why you are fit for the job in a timely manner.
Looking for more information on the career fair?
Get all the details on the Fall 2019 SEC Career Fair, from schedule to participating companies.