Five myths about the Career Fair

Photo courtesy of Blake Israel

Grab your resumes, Jackets! Career fair season is officially upon the Institute. As you prepare to meet with potential employers and show off your hard work, here are five myths surrounding the Career Fair to keep in mind as you put your best foot forward.

Myth no. 1: There is no point in going to the career fair.

From the recesses of Reddit to large-scale Instagram accounts like @techsquare.times, memes that reference the Career Fair’s perceived lack of utility can be found around the internet. 

While it is not guaranteed that every student will walk away with a job or internship offer, this is not a shortcoming on the Career Fair’s end. Even when applying through an online venue or in an in-person job interview, no company can hire every person who applies, especially in highly competitive fields with many qualified candidates.

The Career Fair provides more resources to students than simply receiving a job or internship.  Talking to company representatives can help students gain insight into a company, their upcoming job opportunities, what their  looking for in a candidate and their office culture that you ordinarily would not know.

The Career Fair can also be an opportunity for students to distinguish themselves from other candidates if they decide to apply for a position in the future. Having someone inside the company that can put a face to your application can help yours stand out in a sea of files.

Myth no. 2: I need to have every company fully researched before I attend.

While it is recommended that students research their top companies in advance, there is no practical need to know every detail about every company in attendance. Students may find it useful to know information such as company location(s), size, history and mission and position expectations going into the Career Fair.

The company representatives are at the fair to provide students with information about their company, so making use of them as a resource should be expected. Students will likely run into a few new opportunities with this year’s fair at capacity for vendors. 

Questions students may find useful to ask include those related to office culture, hiring patterns, availability to work remotely or in person and growth opportunities.

Myth no. 3: I need a fancy resume printed on special paper

Some students may feel the need to have resumes that go “above and beyond” with formatting and presentation, however, this is not necessary. Students should focus on arranging content in an organized and easy-to-read manner, letting their accomplishments speak for themselves on the page.

In addition to bringing several paper copies, it is recommended students have a PDF document of their resume on their phone and laptop in case company representatives or recruiters ask for a digital copy. Just remember book bags are not allowed at the fair, so only bring what you can reasonably carry.

Space will be provided in the Exhibition Hall, second floor Highlands room for students who need to drop off their bags. Additionally, students should be aware that no food is allowed on the event floor, however, water bottles with screw on lids will be allowed.

Myth no. 4: Business casual is fine

For the Career Fair, students want to put their best foot forward, which means business formal: blazers, button downs, slacks/skirts and dress shoes. Students looking to personalize their look can do so with jewelry or a pop of color, but generally it is a safe bet to stick
to traditional attire. Keep in mind that price tag does not equate to a well put together outfit and the Institute has resources to assist with attire as well.

Myth no. 5: I should only attend one Career Fair

The Institute hosts several variations of the Career Fair for a reason and students looking to optimize their chances of getting a job or internship can do so by going to multiple Career Fair sessions to fit their niche; some are tailored towards specific majors, others towards underrepresented demographics. 

While students are hard at work balancing school, extracurriculars and research, taking time to prepare for the Career Fair can go a long way in securing a job, internship or co-op. 

The Career Fair can provide students with interview experience, more information on prospective companies and exposure to new companies; regardless of whether you’re looking for a first internship or full time job, the event has something to offer everyone. 

Using the above tips and shifting away from mindsets based on myths, students can make the most of the Career Fair this year.