Graduating from college with no future plans and no connections can be a scary thing. No one wants that big of a dose of reality shoved in their face directly after they switch the tassel from the right side of their cap to the left. Seminole Futures provides a semi-annual Career Fair for students to find jobs and make connections in order to secure futures for themselves rather than panicking at the end of their senior year. This semester’s Career Fair was on January 30th at the Donald L. Tucker Civic Center. It featured over 100 companies, and more than 1,500 students were reported to have attended. Employers from all different types of companies were there, from JPMorgan to McDonald’s and Dollar Tree to the US Navy, all on the prowl for potential employees and/or interns. According to career.fsu.edu, the semi-annual career fair provides an “opportunity to interact one-on-one with employers of interest,” as well as to set up the possibility of receiving job interviews. Contrary to popular belief, Seminole Futures Career Fairs are not just for students who are about to graduate. FSU students of all ages are encouraged to attend, if not to find a job or internship, than to give themselves some experience talking to potential employers and to receive information about prospective careers. Connections are always important and experience doesn’t hurt either.
Career.fsu.edu has lots of nifty information about Seminole Futures and the many services they provide for career-minded ‘Noles, such as mock interviews and résumé writing advice. They even provide a list of what to do before, during, and after a Career Fair. So instead of showing up unprepared in daisy-dukes and a T-shirt looking like a hot mess, you can come prepared in business attire with several copies of your résumé. Men are advised to wear dark colored two-piece suits, and women are recommended to wear business-appropriate attire with light makeup and minimal jewelry. Giving potential employers a sensory overload with heavy perfume, bright colors, and clownish makeup is never a good idea. They want to see the real you, not an over-dressed version of you begging for a job.
The maze of booths can be overwhelming upon entering a Career fair, but maps are provided, and a little research on the present companies can make it more easily navigable. The booths are usually set up in groups based on company type such as Government/Law, Retail, Insurance, etc. Students should interact with as many employers as possible. Face-to-face communication can leave lasting impressions; remember, a smile and a handshake go a long way. Some companies may choose to do interviews on the spot, so it’s best to come prepared to answer whatever questions may be thrown at you. Leaving a copy of your résumé with each employer you talk to would also be wise.
Following up with potential employers is every bit as important as talking to them in the first place. Not only does it show a serious interest, but they may just throw your résumé in the garbage if you wait for them to contact you rather than contacting them yourself. Showing initiative proves you are a capable employee who won’t flake out when it comes time to get down to business. Not everyone who attends a Career Fair is guaranteed to get a job from it; in fact, plenty of people don’t. Whether or not you leave with a job, Career Fairs are an excellent way to network and make connections in a professional environment.