First Career Fair Experience

When I was freshman, I kept using the excuse that I was a freshman to avoid thinking about my future. I would immediately try to change the topic whenever someone mentioned scary words like “resume” and “internship.” Don’t get me wrong, I care a lot about my future—I just did not want to worry about it yet.

This summer, instead of having a real job or internship, I did really cool community service in a small village in China. It was a fun and educational experience, but it had nothing to do with my future. But you know what? It was totally worth giving up a summer of boringness for (boring=having an internship when I was not ready for one). After summer ended, I attended the 2015 Career Camp and realized that it is completely okay to avoid thinking about the future. It a human thing to do! We are only in college and we have so many years ahead of us to worry about jobs and more jobs.

After attending the two-day camp, I realized that this coming summer, I should actually do something related to my International and Area Studies major. Of course, I can use that “I am only a sophomore” excuse too, but that would not be fair to myself…especially when some sophomores are already working huge internships that look great on their resumes.

These past few days, I managed to convince myself to actually be productive (which was hard to do because I am really lazy). Instead of binge watching TV shows or eating ice cream for fun (yes, for fun), I typed up a revised version of my resume and worked on my LinkedIn profile. (Note: MAKE A LINKEDIN. It is important!!!)

I have to admit, I finished my resume and LinkedIn just in time for the Career Fair today (aka last night at 11 pm). This afternoon, I proudly walked to Mallinckrodt Center wearing my suit and felt like I was totally prepared to meet firms and present myself to recruiters.




That was not the case.


Not even close.


I freak out. A lot.


The place was packed with college students. All of them wore professional attire and looked just like me. Even the classmates who usually never dress up looked polished and ready to job-hunt. I probably stood there for at least 5 minutes in shock before I accepted the fact that I was just like everyone else. This also made me realize how competitive the working world will be once I graduate college—there are so many college graduates from across the country each year! If you think about it, it is basically a Career Fair multiplied by 100!

Eventually, I walked downstairs to meet the firms. I was surprised to see LONG lines of students waiting to speak to recruiters. All of them carried multiple copies of their resume, just like me. I even met a couple of good friends who waited in the line with at least 20 other people.

Nevertheless, instead of standing in the corner like a scared, clueless college student experiencing a Career Fair for the first time, I pretended like I knew what I was doing. Surprisingly, the pretending helped boost my self-confidence. I walked up to a firm that no one was talking to at the time and introduced myself. I shook hands with the representative and told him my name and major. Despite the fact that the firm was looking for engineers, I still managed to keep a conversation going for at least 5 minutes before leaving for another firm. Then, I did the same thing again, but for a nonprofit organization that was looking for people with my major.

I stayed and talked with more firms for at least an hour before finally deciding to go eat dinner. Overall, it was definitely one of the scariest “firsts” of my college experience, but it was no doubt one of the most useful “firsts” to have as early as possible. The more experience you have with career fairs, the easier they become.


Now that I think about it, I did a great job today! I was scared but I still did it!!!



~ Nancy 🙂