Suit and tie. Padfolio filled with resumes. Business cards. A positive attitude.
These are all things necessary when attending a career fair. When I decided to attend the Multicultural Career Fair here at UW-Whitewater, I had to prepare.
Luckily, this was not my first career fair, so I already knew what to expect and what to do differently than the time before.
I started the morning ensuring that I was going to be comfortable throughout the day. Having a filling breakfast, the “recommended” amount of caffeine, and enough time to get ready in the morning, set the foundation for a positive and productive experience.
I chose to wear a white dress shirt so I did not become too warm during the career fair. No company wants to hire someone drenched in sweat from walking around a room, am I right?
I researched the companies and organizations I wanted to speak to the day before the career fair, making sure I was prepared to hold a conversation with and impress the recruitment representatives.
When I arrived at the Multicultural Career Fair, the first company I wanted to talk to was MilwaukeeJobs.com. The company has an opening for a Community Partners Manager, so I immediately took an interest in speaking to them.
Background: I was a Marketing Intern for this company during the summer after my sophomore year and enjoyed my experience a lot during that time. While this is a very rare case of already having an extensive base of knowledge on the company and position, it made speaking to the company recruiter more meaningful.
After speaking to MilwaukeeJobs.com, my confidence rose and I was ready to move on the next employer.
I have an interest in state government, so I had to make a stop at each of the state departments and drop off a resume. Every conversation with these representatives was pleasant and went according to plan, besides one.
The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) can only take job applications online and cannot take resumes at career fairs, in order to offer fair opportunities to all job seekers.
I was not aware of this fact and after our conversation ended, I asked if I could leave a resume and was in the motion of pulling one out of my padfolio. The representative, with a completely straight face, replies “No, sorry.”
I was very thrown off and it made the rest of the encounter a little awkward. They explained why they couldn’t take a resume and I completely understood.
It’s very important to research the hiring procedures of organizations like the DNR. If I had done that, I could have avoided an uncomfortable situation and left a more positive impression.
Overall, my experience from the Multicultural Career Fair was extremely positive. There’s nothing else like being surrounded by other students looking for employment in their field and professionals eager to offer amazing opportunities for career development.
Whether you’re looking for full-time employment or an internship, I would encourage all job seekers to attend career fairs in the future. If prepared properly, it’s the most effective avenue to take when locking down that next employment opportunity.
If you attended the Multicultural Career Fair, please share your experiences with us! Comment on this post or share your experiences using #WarhawksWork on either Facebook or Twitter!