Career Fair Myths


 By Stuart Esrock, Ph.D.

The University Career Center has several career fairs coming up this semester.  Some students think that only seniors should attend career fairs but UCC career coach Erin Heakin said that is far from true.  

According to Heakin, regardless of your class standing and whether you are sure about your career path or not, these events are a great way for all students to learn about different industries and the opportunities that are available. She said, “Don’t be afraid to approach an employer and ask a few general questions about different roles. Just let them know you are still exploring career options and make sure to be respectful of their time.”

Here are some other misconceptions about career fairs that Heakin points out to students:

I must dress up to attend:  FALSE. It is best to dress professionally or semi-professionally.  But Heakin said you don’t need a suit to get through the door.  As long as you are polite, friendly, and communicate in a professional manner, employers understand you may be coming from class and you can still make a good impression on them. Keep in mind that some industries may have different expectations.  For example, media organizations may be more casual than finance companies.

Employers are looking for one specific major - not mine:  FALSE.  Many times, employers are looking for students with specific skills, not specific majors.  Heakin said, “Some companies might list a few majors that would be a good fit, but that isn’t always an all-encompassing list.  Learn how to talk about the knowledge-base and skillset you have developed through your coursework and experiences.” 

I need to have a stack of resumes: FALSE. Sure it works to your advantage to have a couple of updated resume copies with you.  If not, and an employer asks you for a copy, get their contact information and follow-up in a timely manner to send one.  And Heakin suggests that it is a good idea to update your resume before a career fair if you have not done that recently.  Review the University Career Center’s online resume resources.  

I can only talk with recruiters about positions that are listed: FALSE. Employers typically are happy to talk about their organization and other possible positions.  If you have an interest in an employer and they don’t have your dream position listed, you should still talk with them. Heakin said, “Talking with the representative will give you the chance to ask questions you can’t necessarily find out through online research, plus they might have insight on potential internships or when opportunities might open up. Making a good impression will keep you top of mind, so if a position does become available you can follow up with them and let them know that you applied.”

The University Career Center has a number of career fair events planned for this fall including:

August 26, 2021 - Student Employment Fair

September 14, 2021 - Nursing Fair (Online)

September 15, 2021 - Career and Internship Fair

October 6, 2021 - Graduate & Professional School Fair (Online)

No matter where you are in your college journey, these career fairs can be a valuable experience.  The University Career Center encourages you to take advantage of the opportunities.  If you need assistance getting ready for a career fair event, contact your Career Coach