By: Tanya Kett (career counsellor)
There are more than 90 employers and 2,000 positions to explore at this year’s Fall Career Fair.
If you’re not sure if this event has anything for you, you might not have all the information. There are some common reasons that students give for not attending Fall Career Fair, the largest on-campus recruitment event at McMaster. Here are some common myths and truths about reasons to attend Fall Career Fair.
Myth: The companies aren’t hiring for your program or Faculty
Fact: Every program and Faculty is represented at Fall Career Fair.
Research companies ahead of time and keep an open mind. Don’t judge companies by their name alone, as it can be misleading; many large companies have opportunities in other divisions. You can also learn about career paths within companies of interest — even if the company isn’t recruiting for those positions right now. Future opportunities are also possible.
Ask questions about the company culture and recruitment practices, and ask for a contact in your area of interest. Try and schedule an informational interview after the fair with any new contacts.
Myth: A virtual career fair isn’t as valuable as an in-person event
Fact: Virtual and in-person fairs have very similar benefits.
At a virtual event, you can have virtual one-on-one time with employers without having to navigate crowds of people. You can type out your introduction ahead of time and prepare a list of questions to ask. Additionally, you’ll have access to the transcript after the chat — so you can focus more on the conversation and less on note-taking.
Myth: Attending doesn’t help — the companies just tell you to apply online
Fact: Employers want you to attend so they can get to know candidates beyond cover letters and resumes.
Attending the event virtually, in real time, gives you an opportunity to make a personal connection and professional first impression that employers will remember when they review online applications. Remember to upload your resume and LinkedIn URL when you register for the event. This way, employers can review your documents during the chat.
You may still need to apply online, but employers want to get a sense of the person behind the resume. (That’s you!) Make a connection so you will be remembered. That way, when your application does come across their desk, your name will be familiar.
Also, remember to follow up with new contacts after the fair.
Myth: You shouldn’t attend if you’re not job searching right now
Fact: The earlier you start to network and make connections, the bigger your professional network will grow.
You may not be searching right now, but you will be some day. Use this opportunity to make connections and do some research with real people to learn about career paths, recruitment practices and company cultures. Plus, it’s much easier to have conversations, ask questions and network when there’s less pressure to find a job.
Still not convinced?
If you’re still in doubt, keep an open mind and consider dropping in for even a few minutes to get the feel for these types of events. Warm up by visiting a virtual employer booth that doesn’t have a long wait time. Use the opportunity to ask questions about the representative’s career path and what attracted them to the company. This is a great way to build confidence and learn about someone else’s path — and you never know where there might be similarities or who could lead you to your next job offer. Remember, most career paths aren’t linear, and connections play a key role in leading your career journey.