Six months ago I had just started my last semeseter as an undergraduate at the University at Albany majoring in Information Science with a minor in Computer Science. Every second semester senior knows the question you get just about anytime education comes up in conversation. “Oh, you’re graduating? What are you doing after you graduate?” This is where you usually have one of three responses. Either you get to tell them how you are going on to grad/medical/law/etc school, you already have a job lined up, or you tell them in some fancy anything is possible sort of way that you basically have no clue what you are going to do. For me I was stuck with option three.
In an effort to come up with a better answer I started applying to jobs and even went on a couple interviews but it seemed like I was starting my search to early since nothing really amounted to anything. When my Senior Seminar Professor suggested the class check out the career fair I was hesitant. The thought of a career fair at the time seemed awfull but I decided to give it a shot.
Walking into the career fair is overwhelming at first but the guide to the tables at the fair is your best friend. This guide shows you what companies are there, what majors they are looking for, and what kind of positions they want to fill (full time, part time, internship, etc). I made my way around to a few tables that were looking for full time Information Science majors, talked with the representatives, gave them my resume and I was on my way.
One week later I received an email from one of the companies called Happy Software with an invitation to come in for an interview, and long story short, was hired.
So as it turns out the UAlbany Career Fair directly got me a post grad job before graduation. If that isn’t reason enough to go check one out, here are some more:
- It may seem impossible to impress a company with everyone in your major trying to impress the same company but at least its not everyone in the country/world.
- It is a level playing field. Companies coming to the career fair are most likely looking to hire soon to be graduates meaning it is okay if you don’t have that 4+ years experience it seems that every job posting is requiring.
- Making a face to face impression will help you stand out more than an online (or mailed) submission of a resume.
- Instant feedback. When you submit a resume online (or by mail) either you hear back or you don’t. Talking to the representative of the company you can ask questions like what are they looking for in a candidate. If what they are looking for is you, great, if not, work towards obtaining those qualities/skills.
- It is never to soon to start looking for a post grad job. Some companies may not recruit early, but others may recruit a year in advance, or look to fill an internship that may transition into a full time position.
- Worst case scenario you spend 15 – 30 minutes handing out resumes and talking, and you don’t hear back, but at least you have your resume out there.
Adam Fahrenkopf graduated from the University at Albany in June 2011 with a degree in Information Science, with a minor in Computer Science. Adam currently works as a Database and Web Developer for Happy Software.