“In the end, we only regret the chances we didn’t take” — Lewis Carroll
So, the question is, why should you attend a career and internship fair? Continue reading below for some compelling reasons to spend your day speaking to employers.
Reason #1: Career Exploration is an Ongoing Process
Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. “What do you want to be when you grow up?” “What are you doing after graduation?” “Oh, so you’re an English major? That’s neat. So how are you going to make money with that?”. Commence the elongated groans on 3,2,1. Well, whether you’re a first-year student, entering your final semester at BC, undecided on a major, or just want to open your options a bit, a career fair is a perfect event to gain some clues by investigating before, during, and after.
Now, to emphasize: ALL class years and ALL majors are welcome and encouraged to attend a career fair. Even if you have a good sense of what you’d like your professional pathway to look like, you’d be hard pressed to find a better opportunity to gain deepened exposure and interact with such a large number of employers from a wide-variety of organizations and industries in one location. In case the previous statement didn’t make it obvious, the fair offers MUCH more beyond “business” fields, so don’t let that stop you from attending! While your major alone doesn’t dictate your career path, your information-gathering and exposure to professional events can play a large role.
Reason #2: Promote Yourself and Stand-Out Professionally
That’s right—professional development shouldn’t just occur when you’re actually in the internship/job. Between obtaining appropriate dress attire, polishing your resume, preparing thoughtful questions to ask (e.g. “what examples can you provide of how your organization promotes an inclusive office culture?”), and practicing your own authentic introductions to employers, you’d be surprised how that will help you make a quality impression. As a bonus, the work you put in to develop these habits will undoubtedly make your future interview prep that much more efficient and effective. If nothing else, consider this: what potential value could adding a “positive face” to my resume have, in a stack of who knows how many applicants, by attending?
Reason #3: Add Clarity to Your Job/Internship Search
Perhaps you’ve had this experience: you’re reading over a job description featuring a somewhat vague list of required skills, such as “ability to work cooperatively”, “positive attitude”, and my personal favorite, a “go-getter”. Wishing for more details? Well, career fairs provide an opportunity to glean more information by speaking with actual representatives from those organizations, who can not only directly answer your questions and help you establish a connection to that company but, more importantly, help you determine if this may be a good fit for you. Whether you walk away from the conversation eager and energized with some context to add to your cover letter, or dazed and confused, this can serve as a clue to whether submitting that application—or continuing the process—is worthwhile. Clarity is everything!
Reason #4: Build Confidence
Self-confidence is what the Hulk is for the Avengers—something you want on your side, hands down! Confidence in your competence is developed through intentional action, risk taking, and experience, and can certainly be sensed from across the room. Submitting resumes through an online job portal is one thing. Having the nerve to “stick your neck out” and represent yourself in a setting among hundreds of other hopefuls is no easy feat and should be acknowledged. For many students, the joy of attending such an event is as much a prove to them, as it is a prove to myself milestone. Just imagine the confidence boost—and relief—you’ll feel afterwards when you’ve successfully “adulted”!
Reason #5: Have Fun!
Wait a minute…have fun? At a professional career fair? I know, I know, sounds odd. Aren’t career fairs super serious events—not for enjoyment? Well, not quite. While you should take your career discernment and rare opportunities such as this seriously, often those whom are most successful in this process find a way to simultaneously enjoy the moment.
By Jabril Robinson, Assistant Director, Career Education and Diversity Initiatives