This semester brings us the Spring Career Fair – aptly named for its timing during these frigid February days – with new hopes of internships, job prospects, and network connections. You talked to some recruiters, good for you. But if we’re being on honest, they definitely lied to you, and now you’re lying to yourself. Here are just a few you’ve made yourself believe this week:
7.) “I’ll have a call back in three weeks.”
Honey, if you talk to a recruiter, hand over your resume, and strut out of the BJC you aren’t even through half the battle. The job search does not end at The Career Fair; it begins there. Email that recruiter, add him or her on LinkedIn, go to that panel you know the company’s hosting, pray with that business card between your palms, and don’t stop until you feel invasive.
6.) “The career fair will get me a career.”
We’re sorry to disappoint you, Smeal majors, but the Career Fair isn’t your stepping stone into the corporate company lifestyle. The Career Fair should be named if anything “Job Fair” or even more fittingly, “First Job Fair.” Do you know why people have first jobs? So they can move on up to a better second job.
5.) “I don’t need to talk to _____.”
The “Employer’s Attending” page of the Career Fair’s website encourages you to make a “Top Ten List.” However, this does not mean you can’t talk or don’t need to talk to other employers. If you find yourself rolling your eyes at a friendly recruiter, think again about what’s so frustrating: this person is merely trying to hire you.
4.) “It’s rejuvenating to talk to someone who wants to listen to me!”
After a long day of classes and a trudge through the snow, there’s nothing better than cramming into an arena full of students in stuffy suits talking about themselves, their hopes, and their dumb little dreams. Recruiters are people too and are tired after a long day full of sophomores showing they are well versed on their company’s Wiki page. After 3 p.m. it’s hard to keep their company story straight, let alone yours.
3.) “All these companies want to give me a finance job.”
If that degree you’re working towards says some sort of “engineering,” then odds are you may have inflated sense of your skill set. Yes, engineering is a coveted skill, but no, companies do not think you are able to do all tasks because you passed E-design your freshman year.
2.) “Career Services helped with my resume, so I’ll definitely land an internship with [insert fortune 500 company here].”
No matter how much Career Services helped revise your resume, there are some companies that just aren’t going to let you in unless you know someone on the inside. The Career Fair wants you to believe that someone is the recruiter, but unless your uncle’s brother-in-law’s nephew has your back, you’re screwed. You can try putting “the largest living alumni network” boast to the test by emailing every PSU alum through LinkedIn, but that has poor results.
1.) “Face to face is overrated.”
Booth after booth you recite your soul-selling pitch to a recruiter, shake his or her hand, and are faced with the friendly phrase of “Check online for our internship opportunities.” This moment may lead you to question all the time and energy you put into preparing for this coveted event, but don’t give up hope! Even in this digital age, recruiters still remember faces – if you go to the company’s panel, business mixer, and/ or dinner.
So what have we learned from our career fair experience? Pestering might get you a job, but it probably won’t even be close to your dream job. Still, we should thank our humble university for the opportunity to meet so many great employers, right? Right??
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