College is a lot of pressure and a lot of changes, all at once! You go from being a high schooler who has been reliant on other people for pretty much your whole life, to a semi-adult. You also have the expected academic pressures that come with college and the new pressures to obtain internships and co-ops. Internships and co-ops can help you gain valuable experience for your future career and help boost your resume for when you are seeking a full-time position in the future. However, the path to getting a job can be long and discouraging and filled with many uncertainties.
A good way to network and put your foot in the door at companies are career fairs and fortunately at Georgia Tech we have a gigantic one for most majors every fall and spring! Navigating your way through a career fair can be scary but doing so can help you gain valuable experience with talking to recruiters and maybe even land you a job.
This year, the career fair is online but don’t let that stop you from having a successful career fair experience. Here are some tips for making the best out of your career fair experience:
If a recruiter asks if you have experience in a particular subject or program, be honest about whether or not you do. It’s okay if you don’t have experience but make sure you let them know that you would be willing to learn new subjects and programs. This willingness to learn will show them that although you may not have every single qualification, you are eager to learn new things and could still be a productive member of their team.
It may seem pointless to talk to recruiters from companies that don’t specialize in your field but it is definitely worth a shot. If nobody is talking to a recruiter and you have the time, go over and talk to them. Sometimes you might find that they were in a similar organization or club as you when they were in college or you could gain a potential contact for future employment. You never know what could come out of a simple conversation and the worst they can say is no.
When you’re trying to get a job, you may be tempted to list every single accomplishment you have ever had in order to impress the recruiter but this probably isn’t the best idea. Wait for the recruiter to ask you questions and if they ask you about your accomplishments, don’t ramble on forever about them. You don’t want the recruiter thinking you’re full of yourself and showing off. Instead, you want to show interest in their company and what they do.
Talking to strangers can be stressful in general but it can be even more stressful when you are trying to get the stranger to give you a job. It is totally okay if you are intimidated by the recruiter, especially if it’s your first time at a career fair but make sure you make it more like a conversation. Even though you should try and be professional, don’t be afraid to show your personality and be personable. Being personable with recruiters can show them that you are not only academically qualified for the job but also if you are socially a good fit for their workplace.
This one may be obvious but it is always good to be reminded of it. Between juggling school and life it can be difficult to remember little details but materials needed for the career fair are something you don’t want to forget. You don’t want to look foolish and unprepared in front of recruiters. Before you go or log on, make sure your resume is updated and easily accessible. You don’t want to have to rifle through papers or search through files and waste the recruiter’s time. If you need other materials, such as a portfolio, make sure those are updated and easily accessible as well. Your preparedness will serve as a good sign to a recruiter.
There are so many more tips and tricks to having a successful career fair but these five are particularly important. If you follow these guidelines, you’ll be on the way to a positive career fair experience. Remember throughout the process of finding a job, whether it’s through a career fair or not, that it is important to be true to yourself and not give yourself a hard time if you don’t get the job you wanted. All you can do is be the best version of yourself!
All-Majors Career Fair
Monday, September 21st and Tuesday, September 22nd