Before I attended the career fair, I had assumed it will be basically a quick meet-up event in which students will ask companies’ representatives questions they may have and companies will primarily distribute informational and marketing materials. But attending the event made me realized I had quite a narrow understanding of its real purpose. After attending the career fair, it was clear why there is no substitute for it for both companies that are looking to hire students for entry level positions as well as students who may be targeting certain employers.
There is no doubt that companies provide ample information about them on the internet but even this huge amount of information cannot compete with the information advantage of career fair. First of all, online information is mostly general and usually addresses frequently-asked questions. But students have the opportunity to ask any questions at the career fair and receive specific answers. Moreover, the flow of communication is instant and both ways. Similarly, companies’ representatives also have valuable opportunities to assess students in a way that is not possible through resumes such as communication and people skills. I actually heard some representatives asking certain students if it may be possible for the students to visit corporate headquarters to learn more about the companies in question. There is a high likelihood that companies’ representatives must have liked these particular students and wanted to lure these students by introducing them to their respective organizational cultures.
As a hotel management major, I was delighted to see a fair representation of companies from the hospitality sector such as Hilton and Marriot. I have been fortunate to gain valuable work experiences at Marriott and seeing my boss at the fair was a surprise. As I saw him interacting with other students, I further understood why career fair should not be missed. My boss was looking to hire people for many openings including the one I occupied in the past. If I were someone looking to do an internship at Marriott next summer, meeting my prospective boss would have helped me determine whether our personalities are compatible or not. I believe it is important that boss and subordinates have compatible personalities in order to minimize workplace politics as well as enhance productivity. One of the reasons I really enjoyed working under my boss was that we both had quite similar traits such as emphasis on open communication and willingness to continuously improve oneself.
Another benefit of career fair I observed was that it is actually more efficient way of learning about companies and the openings, even more than the internet. When I talked with companies, the representatives asked me about my interests and experiences and immediately suggested the positions that may be ideal for me. In addition, I got insider information about companies that one doesn’t find on the internet. After spending just two hours at the career fair, I had learned more about different companies than what I could hope to learn on the internet within same duration of time.
I also noticed that companies see career fairs as an effective medium to market themselves. Not only the representatives tried to talk about job and organization’s culture aspects that may appeal to me but they also handed me company-branded merchandise. Whenever I use the merchandise, I think of the career fair and my meetings with the company representatives and the merchandise is also visible to my roommates which mean these items are an effective medium of increasing brand awareness. Few people have even asked me about whether I plan to work there.
Overall, the career fair was a productive experience and I recommend it to every student. They learn things about companies that they cannot on the internet and in addition, they may also increase their appeals to customers by demonstrating soft skills such as communication. In addition, representatives provide insider information which gives students a better idea of what it is like to work in that particular company.