A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to attend Howard University’s job fair for their School Of Communications. So as a Media Studies major and a Senior in college, I’m like “ Okay , this is a perfect opportunity to network”. Because so many big media companies from all over the country were going to be attending this job fair. But then I realized I never attended a job fair. Sure, I had tips from my parents and friends on what to do during a job fair. Here are some tips to help guide you through your first job fair.
Okay, so I was freaking out the day before and the morning of before because like I said I’ve never been to a job fair. So many things were going through my head. I’m very shy, so I am terrible at the whole small talk thing. Two, this job fair wasn’t at my campus it was at a different campus. Yes, Howard University is only three minutes anyway but I don’t know where all the buildings are. So finding the building where the fair was held was another thing to add on my list of anxieties. Then I had twenty copies of my resume but of course I didn’t have them in a fancy folder so when the wind would hit they would just be flying around. *sighs* It was a mess.
Actually getting there
Here is one good thing about being at the job fair: I went with my friends. But then when we got to the fair of course we all split up and did our own thing. So I sucked it up, put on my big girl panties and went to the first table. It wasn’t as bad as I thought it was, I practiced the kinds of questions to ask to employers. So it all came naturally once I was there. And I got a lot of great responses from employers and the ones I liked a lot I made sure to write a follow up email so they would not forget me.
There were a lot of cons at being at this particular job fair. For one, I forgot students at HU needed to have completed a certain number of internships in order to graduate. Sometimes when I was speaking to employers, when the realized that I didn’t attend HU they weren’t interested in talking to me. I actually had an terrible experience with a local DC company that really hurt my confidence. I won’t dwell into that story because there is no point in giving the details. But I mentioned it just to stress the frustration I felt when certain employers didn’t want to talk to me because I didn’t attend HU. So it left me wondering if many of the employers wanted to mainly speak to HU students why promote to job fair to colleges in the all across the country. I met students who were attending the job fair from all over the country. So this is huge. Another con was where the job fair was held. It was very small, so it was so hard talking to companies. The lines were so long. I ended up talking to about five companies. Which isn’t bad but I had wished I could have spoken to more.
My first job fair experience was very eye opening. It taught me a lot. How to network and helped me understand what employers are looking for. It gave me ideas to where to apply to for post graduation. I think I will look to find other job fairs at different Universities in DC and just DC as a whole and try networking again. Because it is something I will be doing for the rest of my life so the more practice I have the better I will be at it. And look, sometimes you will not get the response you want from employers but do not let that get you down! Aaliyah( RIP) once said ” If at first you don’t succeed, dust yourself off and try again”