Career fairs advantageous even for freshmen

By Simran Devidasani

Some of the biggest tools that the University offers are the countless number of career fairs where various companies come to campus to hire students. However, because of a common misconception that career fairs aren’t beneficial for freshmen, many of those students might not take advantage of them.

While it’s true that most jobs go to the upperclassmen, the freshmen get good practice, exposure and experience from going to these fairs, so they shouldn’t miss attending based on the fear that they won’t get hired. And that’s true for all majors, from engineering to advertising.

According to the Northeastern University Career Development website, students can learn a lot about companies they’re interested in by attending these fairs during freshman year. 

Furthermore, by putting your resume out there, you could set yourself up for a good position in later years. Attending these fairs as freshmen will enable one to practice dressing up, writing and presenting resumes, and practice speaking skills. 

The earlier one starts practicing these skills, the more comfortable they will be in the future.

I used to think that career fairs were a waste of time, because as a freshman, I had so much to get accustomed to at school that these fairs would just be hours of me walking around trying to talk to companies who were only interested in older students. Moreover, I used to believe that gaining an internship or job freshman year with a serious company was not viable, because most of my older peers hadn’t yet accomplished that — most of them didn’t even have a polished resume.

After attending the business career fair on Feb. 5 though, I realized that businesses were interested in people who truly seemed passionate and knowledgeable about the field, regardless of their year in school. I was even told by one representative, “We love freshmen because we get to build them over the years.” He explained how he has taken a few freshmen into his business firm and trained them over the years, and now they are seniors at the University who know the company well. The company representative also mentioned how they see so much potential in freshmen — which shows how companies do not have a negative perception of freshmen in their mind. 

These same freshmen with potential will come back in later years with even more knowledge about the company, and potentially land the job.

It’s true that many freshmen do attend career fairs already, but many feel as if they are going because they are obliged to and that nothing will really come out of it. Those who attend are daunted by the fact that they feel unprepared and insignificant as such young job-seekers.  

I’ve spoken to my peers who were attending career fairs who started off by saying, “I’m a freshman. I have no experience.” 

And while it’s true that we do not have exposure, we have to start somewhere. It’s important for students of all grades to look up career fairs early on to get a head start building up their resumes and developing speeches for employers. This way students will be prepared when the time comes, and will sound polished too, making companies believe they are confident. 

Attending career fairs during freshman year gives you the advantage of having this experience, thus pushing you to be more confident and experienced as a sophomore or junior — giving you the upper hand against your peers who did not attend.  

Career fairs are also a great place to develop inspiration and interest by walking around and learning about different companies. At the same time, students are exposed to real-world work. They can then narrow down what they want to do simply by gauging their interests.

To make things easier on us, the University even offers a Career Center that reads resumes, corrects resumes and even provides mock interviews for students. The time varies each day for when these services are available, but you can view the times and even set up appointments on the Career Center website.

Starting in October, freshmen in the College of Media are urged to submit resumes to the Career Center to perfect them and attend the fairs. The fact that our teachers and counselors were telling us to do so pushed many of us to attend. Thus, I believe it would be beneficial for all teachers at the University to encourage students to attend.

While each career fair in each department is different, the basis of the system is all the same: dress up in formal clothes, have a clean resume and a one-minute speech ready, stand in lines and talk to companies you are interested in. 

If they reciprocate their interest, they will take your resume and contact you.

With the Engineering career fair coming up on February 18 and 19, and the all-school career fair on March 18, students, including freshmen, have a chance to expose themselves to the labor force.

Simran is a freshman in Media. She can be reached at [email protected]