On September 4th, I made the decision to attend my first career fair at Cornell. I’m a junior and felt it was time to start networking at Cornell. I was eager to meet companies like Google, Facebook, and Microsoft, even though I was not an engineer. So, after printing about 15 copies of my resume, I woke up the morning of September 5th, got dressed in business casual attire, and made my way to Bartels Hall with my roommate. I must admit I was pretty excited. Well, that excitement quickly vanished.
My roommate and I got there 10 minutes before the career fair was supposed to start, and the line was already inching closer and closer to Lynah Rink. Aside from all the cutting, which I was told to let go, it seemed like the line wasn’t moving for ages.
When I finally made it into Bartels, I was quickly herded like cattle into another waiting area to get a name tag.
After finally getting into the event, I was greeted with, you guessed it, more lines. I didn’t get to talk to half of the companies I wanted to, and was ultimately unprepared for the seriousness and the magnitude of the conversations. The ultimate blow was that the recruiters there couldn’t even accept my resume as an application. I honestly felt that I wasted my time and could have slept in until my 1:25 class.
For anyone else thinking about going to a career fair for the first time, here’s some tips I wish I would have known.
1. BRING WATER.
It’s hot. You’re going to sweat, and I was dying, and dripping sweat all over, mentally cursing myself for not bringing water.
2. Ask good questions.
Don’t ask the stereotypical questions like “What’s it like to work here?” Recruiters are more likely to remember students who ask unique questions.
3. Dress up not down. Even though it says business casual, everyone wears a suit. So, keep that in mind.
So my advice to anyone going to a career fair for the first time: get ready to sweat, wait, and feel like you wanna die, but don’t forget to smile!