CMU Career Fairs are full of opportunities like internships, jobs and networking contacts for future goals. But they can also be busy, crowded and full of people, tables, resumes… and more people! So let’s look at two key aspects of venturing into a CMU Career Fair: preparation and understanding why it’s worth it to attend.
Success is Where Preparation and Opportunity Meet
Student preparation for a Career Fair begins days before the actual event–or at least it should. The most effective strategy is not wandering into a room full of students and recruiters and asking for an internship. Instead, students should log into Handshake ahead of time and get a sense of which companies are hiring for what types of positions. They can also do some research prior to walking into that bustling gymnasium so they know whom they want to talk to, what they plan to say, and which positions they want to talk about. The more research a student can do ahead of time, the better!
Is Waiting in Line Worth It?
Professional attire, polished resumes and sometimes long lines are a common scene at a career fair. With so many students looking for opportunities, the question often becomes “is it worth it?”
Yes, It’s Totally Worth It!
Sure, you could simply submit your resume on a company website and save yourself some time and energy. But you could miss the opportunity to really showcase your knowledge and passion for the position and/or company. By speaking to a recruiter in person, you could:
- Demonstrate the knowledge you have of the company and why you are a great fit for a particular position
- Hand a recruiter your resume after your conversation enabling the recruiter to make a link between the name on your resume and your face
- Receive the recruiter’s business card and send a follow-up email reiterating your interest and thanking them for their time
And sometimes companies will take it one step further and invite candidates that made a great impression to interview on campus the very next day!
If you choose to just skip the event and apply online, then you could be one of the hundreds blending in to the mass of applicants; but if you chose to go and meet someone, your name could immediately resonate with the recruiter as the student who knew exactly why they wanted to work there and had that awesome resume with the diverse experience. So don’t miss out on that opportunity, or come ill-prepared for it!
Career Fairs are busy and require preparation, time and work. But if you put that in, they are a great opportunity for you to directly interact with potential future employers in a way that you might not get any other chance to do. Take advantage of that. Do the work. Meet with your Career Consultant to prepare. Brave the sea of people and find a way to make the most of your time at an event designed to help you make the most of your career search.