The Career Fair – It’s Not Just for Seniors

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Linda Yu is a senior majoring in International Business and minoring in International Affairs with a concentration in Finance. She has completed two co-ops within a financial management firm in Boston, MA and London, UK. She has studied abroad in Spain, Ireland, and England. Follow/tweet her at @lindayu925.

I have always been the type of person that gets nervous when meeting new people. It can be quite ironic how I am enrolled in business school because I’m a big introvert, the exact opposite of what business schools encourage you to be. So when I heard about the Fall Career Fair, the bigger of the two general career fairs that Northeastern Career Services hosts, I immediately disregarded the opportunity. At the time, I was a sophomore and on the search for my first co-op. The Career Fair didn’t matter to me because I already had everything figured out. I had extensively researched the companies I wanted to work for and networking didn’t seem necessary. I was planning on nailing the interviews and getting the job.

I asked myself: “Why not? What can I possibly lose?” There was always the chance of humiliating myself but I knew I had to let go of that someday. So I put on my best suit, a pair of shiny pumps, took out my portfolio into which I inserted 20 copies of my resume, and headed off to Cabot Cage.

Image from www.campusrec.neu.edu

Upon arrival, Career Services provided me with a detailed list of employers and their exact locations (I encourage you to research the companies in advance, you can find

the company list here).

Yes, it was crowded but not unmanageable. Students and alumni were constantly leaving and arriving. There was a room where students could get organized. I followed the map and went straight to the companies I wanted to work for. The extensive research I conducted proved to be both useful and useless at the same time. Employers were impressed with how much I knew about their company. However, I realized that I didn’t know enough about the company until I spoke to someone that actually worked there. The information I received from employers made me realize that from my original target list, I truly only wanted to work for less than half of the companies. This saved me time and spared my co-op coordinator many headaches.

I explored the fair further and talked to companies that I was interested in but didn’t know too much about. Whether there were internships, full time positions, rotational programs, or co-op positions, the companies there had so much to offer! It was interesting to me how companies in the same industry often had different selling points and I was able to gain exposure to various industries. Initially, the Career Fair made me queasy but it turned out to be fun and informative.

A week after the fair, my co-op advisor called me and told me that a top 20 company within the Fortune 500 wanted to interview me after they met me at the career fair. I was so surprised that they remembered me from the hundreds of students they had met that day. I went to the interview and a day later found out that I got the job! I was gloating while my friends were still searching for their co-ops. I guess they really should have gone to the Career Fair!

Image from Northeastern.edu

After completing 2 co-ops within a financial management company in Boston and in London, I now know that my reasons for fearing the career fair never really end. You are always expected to market yourself, to network with other people and companies, and to constantly learn. Some people will love the process and others will hate it. Some people will be better at this than others. For me, I guess the question to always ask yourself is “Why not? What can I possibly lose?”

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