When I think back to my first career fair experience three things come to mind: sweaty palms, nerves and a lack of preparedness. Although I was dressed to impress and had brought several copies of my resume with me, I went to the fair to talk to only ONE company. I never even approached another business. I went straight to the booth I wanted, dropped off my resume and quickly shook the representative’s hand before I scurried home. Looking back on this experience I can’t help but wonder “WHAT WAS I THINKING??!” Yes I know I was feeling intimidated and overwhelmed, but I wish I had not been so closed minded and nervous.
If I had the chance to do it all over again this is what I would do:
I -I would have my resume critiqued by MUCSC and printed on resume paper (also available for free in MUCSC)
- -I would create business cards ($3 for 30 in MUCSC) and hand those out along with my resume
- -I would push myself to visit more companies and map out a plan-of-attack ahead of time
- -I would remind myself that this is a great learning opportunity
- -I would create a 60 second commercial telling each company representative more about “Sam” (more then what can be read on my resume)
- -I would practice and then re-practice my handshake
- -I would tell myself to take a deep breath and not be so nervous
I know my experience would have been a lot different (and more relaxed) had I prepared for the fair more in advance.
With that in mind, I give you my last piece of advice: Determine what you want to achieve at a career fair and decide the best approach for getting the job done. No one ever said finding a job or internship was easy, but by planning early and using resources like the MUCSC, the road can be a lot less stressful.