As an international student who’s been to the United States before, I attended my very first job fair last week. I might not gain an expected intern position for the coming up summer immediately, but I got asked for my resume 8 times. Not bad for the first job fair, right?
DO NOT consider the amount of resumes that you have handed out as the final accomplishment.
Then what can be counted as the real gains? Many students, especially international students, have complained that we’ve gained not much from all these job fairs. Normally, we would just swing by for an hour, give our resumes to a couple of companies, and then leave.
Well, I would say different people have various evaluations on these events. But for those who find my title interesting and still want to gain something from similar events, let’s get rid of some of the following misconceptions of job fairs first before we move on to the shortcuts.
- DO NOT take finding a job or internship as a day to day event. You don not want to attend just because your other classmates go there and you do not want to fall behind. Once again, it is the quality that matters, not the numbers. You could have participated in 5 job fairs and get interview chances with a couple of companies, or you could attend 20 and achieve nothing. So the number of job fairs you attend is not really important – it’s what you do at each one that’s most important.
- Being turned down by a company does not mean that you should give up communicating or connecting with their recruiters in subsequent job fairs. This case is commonly found among international students. The visa policies limit students to work under sponsorship; as such, lots of companies are not willing to provide sponsorships to international students, who want to work for a company for the long-term, due to the costs. Therefore, many local companies would bring up these conditions at the beginning to screen international students.
These are the two misconceptions that you might probably hear about when you first enrolled in school. To me, though I am an international student who might not have a perfect local (or “native”) accent, I’ve never thought of myself inferior to the other students. I’ve learned and gained through the process of communicating with the companies’ recruiters. The job fair is never a day to day event. It is a way of getting important information in addition to anything you may learn via research about a company online. It is also a way for you to network to people who can be influential in your career development, regardless of how it all unfolds.
You might be complaining about not having enough time to prepare for a job fair beforehand with so much homework and school activities before and after classes. After we resolve some of the misconceptions of job fairs in this blog, I am going to share with you some shortcuts to prepare for a job fair.
If you have any other different ideas about job fairs or anything related to the info I’ve written about above, feel free to comment or send me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org. I am more than willing to have further discussions with you. This is Missy. And see you next time!