Monday, December 5, 2011

Career Fairs - The Big Debate

The Career Services Center is hosting, not one, but two career fairs this spring.  We often hear concerns from students when promoting career fairs.  I've listed some arguments (along with my own counterarguments) 

Argument 1: "The companies aren't currently looking for students with my major."
Counterargument 1: Fair argument!  The thing is, even if they don't have your major or position you are seeking listed, this doesn't mean you can't talk to them about opportunities.  True, they might say "we aren't hiring for that right now" or "I only hire for a specific department".  But you can't tell me they won't have SOME sort of contact for you.  If they don't or aren't willing to share this with you, well then maybe it's not the type of company you want to work for anyways? 

Argument 2: "I've never heard of anyone that got a job from a career fair."
Counterargument 2:  You are right, I've never heard of a person who got offered a job AT the career fair.  The point of a career fair is not to walk out with a job - that's just crazy.  The point (one of many), is to get an INTERVIEW or at least a lead in your job/internship search.  I have heard of plenty of students getting interviews from a career fair.   

Argument 3: "I have work/school/internship during the career fair."
Counterargument 3:  Legitimate.  So if you can't rearrange your work/internship schedule and if your professor does not allow you to miss for the career fair, there are alternatives.  Within the career fair guidebook and online (MU Career Manager), we have the companies attending the fair along with contact information.  Now I don't have to tell you how difficult it is to get a phone number or email address of an actual HR person these days, do I?  The career fair guidebooks are priceless and you can contact any of those employers listed to let them know you aren't able to make the fair but would like to apply for the position.  It's a great idea to contact them BEFORE the fair if possible so it shows your drive. 

Argument 4: "I don't know what to do or say when I actually GET to the career fair - it all seems too overwhelming.  I feel more comfortable searching and applying for jobs online."
Counterargument 4:  I was right there with you when I was in school!  Had I known there was a resource like Career Services to help prep me for events like this, I would have actually GONE to events like this!  You can get your resume critiqued , practice your 60 second commercial, and go over the whole career fair process with a career counselor.  Just call 414.288.7423 or drop by Holthusen Hall, 1st floor to make an appointment.

Argument 5: "The recruiters just tell us to apply online.  I can do that without having to wear a suit to my classes."
Counterargument 5: That is frustrating to hear, isn't it?  OK, what we have heard from several recruiters is that it's a company policy that everyone applies within their system.  Heck, even current employees have to apply within the system for a new position.  The policy may be the same for every candidate applying but you can really stand out from every other candidate in other ways.  Impress them at the fair!  I recently heard a recruiter say, "candidates who stop by our booth at the fair are automatically considered for an interview."  After knocking their socks off at the fair, FOLLOW UP!  This is where most students drop off - so you just emailing your resume/cover letter or calling after the fair puts you at a definite advantage!

Pretty convincing?  If you saw good points in my counterarguments...even if you rolled your eyes - here are the spring career fairs for you to at least think about attending.  We get great attendance at these events, so yes, some students do actually see the usefulness but we always love to see those numbers increase.  The point of my blog is to (hopefully) show you how career fairs are a great OPPORTUNITY.  When opportunity knocks...answer!

Reverse Career Fair Registration is Open! Tuesday, February 7, 2012
5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
AMU Ballrooms

What is a Reverse Career Fair?
Employers consistently ask for exposure to Marquette University student organizations and access to student leaders. A Reverse Career Fair is an excellent opportunity for student leaders to showcase their professional skills and the values and skills gained as a result of being involved in student organizations.
Student Organizations: More Information | Registration

WorkForce Career & Internship Fair*
Excellent opportunity for Marquette University students seeking internships or full-time jobs to meet with employers from all areas, including business, communication, engineering, health sciences, computer sciences, government, the arts and non-profit.

Date: Thursday, February 16, 2012
Time: 4:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.
Location: Marquette University, AMU Ballrooms

*Held in conjunction with the Wisconsin Private Colleges Career Consortium (

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