By Bentic Sebastian
Career fairs are a major event held on campus. At the career fair, recruiters from all over the country come to the university to recruit the brightest and most talented individuals. There are several career fairs held on campus. Career Fairs are held at different times throughout the year. They are usually held in March and November. It is a very important day for students. By getting selected, their work experiences will be highly valued among companies after they graduate.
As a freshman, I heard about the career fair through my e-mail, and I was instantly curious about how students like me got selected by recruiters. When I found some free time between classes, I rushed over to the Illini Union, which is a major venue for career fairs. As I approached the Illini Union Rooms A,B and C, I noticed a line of students. Some of their faces were familiar, but I would not have guessed that they were students otherwise. They were wearing business formal attire, complete with shiny shoes, pressed suits, and clean hair. I decided to join the line too.
After about two minutes, I was able to get a name tag at the first desk. I was instructed to write my full name, my current major, and my year of study. After clipping my name tag to my not-so-formal T-shirt, I made my way to the second desk to sign in. The lady at the desk looked at me, and said that I was not allowed into the career fair. “We have a strict policy not to allow any student wearing jeans into the fair”.
But I was still curious. So I went back to PAR, changed into a suit, and made my way to the Illini Union once again. I did not have to wait in line this time, since I had made a name tag. I successfully signed in with my I-card, and I entered into a bustle of activity. Prospective candidates shouted to the recruiters in order to be heard. Other students were in lines, waiting to impress the recruiter. While in line, some students were nervously practicing their 90 second pitch, ignoring the amalgamation of words flying across them from all sides.
I walked around the booths and tried to remember names of the companies I was interested in. I had made copies of my resume earlier that week. I decided to talk to companies and find out what they wanted from potential candidates, and possibly give my resume too. I talked to nine recruiters that day, and I was happy that four of them accepted my resume although I was a freshman!
I learnt a lot about current job possibilities at the career fair. I also got to practice talking to recruiters. Career fairs are an important learning experience. I am sure I made many mistakes that day, but it’s better to make a mistake at your first university career fair than to make one at your last!
I highly encourage all students to go and talk to recruiters. Remember to bring your resume, and remember to leave the jeans at home!