We often hear Lumberjacks refer to career and job fairs interchangeably when in reality, there is a big difference between the two! Knowing the differences between these fairs is essential as you try to appropriately prepare for each kind of event.
Typically, at a job fair you can expect to leave with some strong job leads, or perhaps even an offer! The companies at a job fair typically have open positions that they are planning to fill from the attendees that they interact with. The purpose of a job fair is to find a job (sounds obvious, I know, but these are the facts!). For a student, a job fair will be filled with employers on and off campus that are hiring part time positions and internships.
A career fair, which may include Premedical Professions, Pre-Law, and other graduate opportunities, is not as exclusively centered on finding a job or filling a particular position. Going into a career fair with the expectation that you will leave with a job offer will likely set you up for disappointment. However, career fairs provide many great opportunities including a chance to practice your networking skills when meeting new employers or checking out graduate school possibilities. Coming to the fair prepared with a strong elevator speech– a 15-30 second overview of your qualifications and interests- enables you to make meaningful connections with hiring professionals. Stay engaged with your meaningful contacts by connecting with them via LinkedIn or sending a thank you card or email.
If you are a freshman, someone who is undecided about their post-college plans, or someone who knows exactly what they want to do, career fairs can be a great time to explore post-college opportunities. If you are uncertain about your plans, you have the possibility to leave the career fair with a better idea of your next adventure, or questions you may need to try to answer as you begin the lifelong process of deciding your next steps! This is a learning process. If you feel as if you were not prepared, take the necessary steps to be on top of your game by the time you attend the next career fair.
With the Spring 2014 Career and Premedical Professions Fair fast approaching, it’s a great time to start preparing. Develop your resume so that you can have it ready to hand to companies and graduate schools that you talk to on January 29th in the HLC. Gateway Career Services is more than happy to help you polish it up, in order to make an excellent first impression. Don’t forget that first impressions are extremely important, especially at the career fair.