Many college students question why they should attend a career fair. They think they can find a job easily enough through an online search. While finding jobs through online sources is viable, there are certain advantages to attending a local career fair that you just cannot get with an online job search.
Here are six reasons you should attend a job fair:
1. Get Comfortable: The first time you walk up to a potential employer, you will feel a bit nervous. For some, it may be the hardest thing they have ever done. Getting comfortable with the job fair will allow you to work through the nervousness and move towards presenting a confident person. It will give you a chance to practice your elevator speech and follow-up skills. This is not something you can easily do with an online job search.
2. Learning How to Present Your Professional Side: When you attend a job fair, you should wear professional clothing. You need to get comfortable with introducing yourself and distributing your resume. Each time you approach a recruiter, you get more comfortable presenting yourself in a professional manner. If you get an interview through an online job search, you need to be able to present yourself in a professional manner, and a career fair is a great place to practice that.
3. Open Up Job Options: A college career fair offers you the chance to touch base with dozens of potential employers. You can learn what types of jobs they offer and if they have any internships available. You may also find some less than obvious job opportunities that would fit your education and goals. Meeting with recruiters offers you a chance to ask questions and expand your knowledge about a potential employer. Online job searches are limited to what the employer has open and what they’ve put in the listing.
4. Networking Opportunities: A professional network is critical for finding a good job. It also opens up other opportunities that may not be obvious immediately. Building your network offers you the chance to show someone that you are trustworthy and skilled. You might not find a job at your first career fair but you may end up with a contact who can help you find a job down the road. While you can build a network through online sources, meeting someone face to face builds trust and respect much faster.
5. Landing a Job or Internship: This is the main reason why people should attend a college career fair. It offers you a chance to present yourself to potential employers. If you make a good impression, you may end up with an interview right on the spot. Even if they don’t interview you immediately, they will take your resume and get back to you at a later time. The more contacts you make, the more opportunities you will have to land a job or internship. Online job searches can lead to jobs and internships, but why limit your opportunities?
6. Brush Up on Your Skills: Most job fairs at colleges offer more than just the opportunity to meet with recruiters. Many of them offer seminars and lectures on how to land a job. You can get help brushing up your resume. You can learn new interview skills, You can learn about the job search resources available on your college campus. Yes, in some cases, you can get these same skills with online courses, but without the personal touch.
If you are questioning whether you should attend a college career fair, these five options should give you a reason to go. Whether you are looking for the job of your dreams or want to explore new options, the career fair is the place to get started. When will you attend your first fair? Somewhat surprisingly, many students don’t see the value in attending college career fairs. They would rather look for job opportunities online. While online job searches can be quite productive, they don’t offer the same benefits to the student that attending a career fair would. Those benefits are extremely valuable for finding a job in your desired industry.
The Primary Benefits of a College Career Fair
Let’s look at five of the primary benefits you get when you attend a college career fair.
1. Networking with Potential Employers
Did you know that over 80% of all job offers come through networking? A career fair is the perfect place to network with people in your desired industry. Career fairs give you a chance to speak one-on-one with multiple company representatives all in the same place.
Plus, even if you don’t land an interview with a particular company, you still have a chance to make a good impression, and that is an invaluable opportunity. If they liked you, your chances of ending up on a list for future hires increase dramatically.
2. Access to Free Workshops and Seminars
Most career fairs offer free workshops and tutorials for student attendees. The workshops give students the chance to polish their resume or practice their interview skills. For students first entering the professional workforce, these workshop opportunities are hard to put a price on.
Career fair seminars offer a multitude of information. Sometimes the seminars focus on job interview skills. Other seminar topics focus on industry trends and opportunities. Attending at least one of these seminars can focus a student’s job search efforts or give them the chance to explore alternate employment avenues.
3. Get Your Resume Reviewed
When you are applying for any job, your resume is your calling card. A poorly written resume can be the reason why you never get an interview. A resume with spelling errors can give a poor first impression. An unfocused resume will only confuse a potential employer. Keep in mind resumes can be tricky and we’ve listed just a few problems you can encounter.
Many college career fairs offer students the chance to have a professional look over their resumes. The professional will review it and offer suggestions on how to improve it. The advice given can be invaluable in the job search.
4. Interview Practice
Most people are not going to find a job by attending one career fair. But each time they attend such an event, they get the chance to practice their interviewing skills. For example, approaching a potential employer can be a bit intimidating the first time. However, many find that after doing it a dozen times during a single career fair, that discomfort will start to fade.
Some of the skills you get to practice include introducing yourself (oddly not always easy), giving a firm handshake (just trust us on this), marketing your skills, answering basic interview questions, and asking questions of the company. Each of these skills is critical for finding a job.
5. Learn About Job Opportunities in Your Industry
Most industries have multiple entry-level opportunities. For example, the IT industry’s entry-level opportunities include programmers, help desk support, and network technicians. College career fairs offer students a chance to explore these entry-level options and to talk with employers about what makes an ideal employee for those positions.
A career fair can also introduce students to alternative career paths they might not have thought about previously. Speaking with industry leaders one-on-one can give students ideas on valuable minors and optional classes to take while completing their degrees.
These are just some of the benefits that make attending a college career fair important. To truly understand why you need to attend, we suggest you find a local career fair and dive right in.