Think you have to know EXACTLY what you want to do to attend a career fair? Think again.
The Career Center has shifted to industry-specific fairs instead of having one HUGE career fair like in years past. Events like the Business Fair and Tech Career Fair might seem like they are for students solely interested in these careers.
While one (great) reason for attending a career fair is to network with employers in your field of interest, another legitimate reason is to explore fields to learn about what is interesting to you.
A career fair is essentially a gathering of students talking to people representing different organizations. The representatives are usually recruiters–folks who work in Human Resources and focus on hiring–or they are BC alumni who currently work for the organization. Organizations send representatives to meet students at career fairs to 1) spread awareness of their brand and 2) make connections with the intent of potential recruitment.
So, why should “exploring” students go to career fairs?
You’ll have the (unique) opportunity to talk with people representing diverse fields and employer brands all in one place.
Just by walking around the fair, observing different table set-ups and student-employer interactions, you’ll get a sense of the varying organizational cultures. You may see an employer displaying a banner listing their office locations across the globe or a poster advertising open positions in different functional areas. Most employers have print materials available outlining opportunities at their organization along with information about company culture and values.
Just being exposed to the differences in the way organizations present themselves will be helpful to you in determining what sparks your interest or resonates with your skills and experience. However, having conversations with folks who work at these organizations will provide you with a deeper understanding of the fields in which they work.
As a freshman, I went to the Career Fair and didn’t have anything in mind. I went to really open my eyes to career exploration to understand what next steps I can take in the future. Now, as an upperclassmen, I think it’s a really great opportunity to narrow down any interests you may have and get a real person’s perspective on what it’s like to be in the workforce.– Rebecca Spear, MCAS’23
Tips for making the most of your exploratory fair experience:
- Review which organizations are attending the fair beforehand, make a list of those that pique your interest, and write down specific questions you have about the organization.
1. What kinds of entry-level roles are available?
2. What are the primary responsibilities of those in entry-level
3. What skills are valued at the organization?
4. What is the organizational culture?
5. What types of professional development is available?
- If you’re vaguely interested in an employer based on their reputation, table set-up, or the information provided on Handshake before the fair, talk to them!
- Let employers know that you are exploring different career fields and ask them questions that will help you better understand their organization/the field.
- Before you forget the conversations you had or the impressions you took away from the fair, write down your thoughts or make a meeting with an Exploration Coach. Reflect on the following questions:
1. What excited you the most about your experience? Was it a specific
2. Are you interested in working for any of the organizations you spoke
3. Did any roles you learned about seem like they might be a good fit for
4. Were there specific paths that align with your skills and values?
5. Are there skills you may need to further develop?
6. What information do you still need?