Two words; free pens. I can’t say I knew what to expect for my first career fair experience but it turned out there are no clowns and there are instead oodles of free pens.
I’ve been to a few fairs in my younger days, but this was my first formal attendance of the Career Fair on the Fox. Unlike my childhood memories of cotton candy and merry-go-round rides, this kind of fair involved much more mature opportunities like booths with company names on them (some still have candy), company chap-stick, and brochures. However as crazy as it sounds, I realize that a job opportunity has higher value and may last longer than a bit of sticky sweet pink fluff that dissolves in your mouth.
I wasn’t fully prepared for the enormity of the event with over 140 companies lined up in booths and waiting for me to approach them and strike up my best elevator pitch with the flourish of my well-rounded resume. In fact, I wandered through the aisles a couple times just taking in all the companies’ names and representatives smiling at me with their “ask me anything,” attitudes.
The first few booths made polite chit-chat but they just didn’t seem to have a position that I found desirable considering my Journalism Major. Reaching the homestretch of the final row of booths in the field house, I was drawn to the 4imprint company which posted openings for a graphic design position. I’m not a full fledged designing genius but I know how to work some of the newer graphic programs so I shyly smiled at Lia Cummings and we struck up a conversation about 4imprint and the potential career opportunities I may want to consider. I left with her business card, but the true gift had been the amount of information I had compiled today.
I also had a professional picture taken for free, which I can use for business cards and networking. The fair offered resume reviews and great interviewing experience. My reaction to this wonderful opportunity is that it really helped me practice and get comfortable with connecting to potential employers as well as learn about how to market myself and create positive and lasting impressions.