Career Fairs: The Good, The Bad, The….Huh?!

20 Sep

It’s mid-September… The beginning of Fall… You know what that means – college football, pro football, Octoberfest, Halloween, Iron Fork (S FL residents), Thanksgiving, cooler weather, etc…etc… It also means recruiting season for companies everywhere! Career fairs, school/organization networking events, tours, interviews, resume critiques, presentations, and lots more! Now that I’ve been on both sides (eager job-seeking students and employer), I’d like to highlight some of the things that are associated with career fairs and share with you the good, the bad, and the things that make you say “what the…”

Employer side

The good:

  • Meeting new people – students, other employers, the awesome career center staff
  • Getting to gloat about my awesome job and amazing company – Kaufman, Rossin & Co.
  • Learning about students and their accomplishments – it’s awesome to find out where they’re from, what they’re studying, where they’ve worked, what organizations they’re involved in, what their talents are, and why they’re interested in our company
  • Traveling!
  • Change of scenery – out and about, away from my desk 🙂
  • Getting to know my coworkers better (spending 3-6 hours together at a booth definitely qualifies as quality time)
  • Collecting tons of giveaways and goodies

The bad:

  • Awkward handshakes
  • Lots of germs
  • Aching feet (heels are the devil)
  • The two extremes – cocky, “entitled” students v. too quiet, confused students
  • Unprepared students – do your homework, kids!
  • Always being “on” – it gets tiring after 5 career fairs
  • Not being able to give every student an interview

The “what the…”

  • Outfits (ehem, skirts) that make me question if we’re at a career fair or a club in South Beach
  • Improper hygiene
  • Those who grab giveaways just because they’re free and don’t even have a conversation

Student side

The good:

  • The great opportunity to meet the people you hope to work with someday
  • Getting to know companies more in-depth
  • Face time with HR directors and recruiters
  • The potential to land your future career
  • Practicing skills needed for interviews, networking, and the real world in general
  • Dressing up and showing off to your lazy classmates who choose not to attend the career fair
  • Exemplifying to your professors that you’re serious about your career
  • Receiving resume critiques

The bad:

  • Depending on your school, having to choose between attending class or the career fair
  • It’s still hot in South Florida… Which means you’re trucking from class/dorm/home in the humid hot heat to the location of the career fair = sweaty mess
  • Trying to find that “perfect” suit
  • Saying the same thing over and over to all the companies you’re interested in
  • Awkward conversations
  • Nervousness – it’s very nerve-racking!
  • Not landing a follow-up interview

The huh…!?

  • Falling (in front of the line to check into the career fair, in the career fair, in front of your hopeful future employer)
  • Stuttering
  • Losing your train of thought
  • Awkwardly waiting in line to speak to an individual employer while his/her coworkers have zero students to talk to (the favorites game – aka: I need to speak with this person because he/she is more important and makes the hiring decisions)
  • Being dismissed by rude employers
  • Any embarrassing moment – food stuck in teeth, sneezing, hiccups, etc.

What are your favorite and worst parts of career fairs? I’d love to hear from employers and students alike!

Disclosure: This blog post is written based on my own observations, own opinions, and own humor 🙂 Not to be mistaken by opinions of my employer, coworkers, schools, or anyone/thing inbetween. Enjoy!

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2 Responses to “Career Fairs: The Good, The Bad, The….Huh?!”

  1. Sangeeta October 19, 2011 at 2:18 am #

    Aubrey, your blog is so professional!

    • Aubrey Swanson November 17, 2011 at 12:59 pm #

      Aww, thanks, Geets! Sorry, I just saw this comment… My bad.

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