April 25, 2024 by

I remember early in my first year at Cedarville, whenever the Career Services career fairs were brought up, I was always so confused. It sounded like a time where businesses displayed themselves and students looked them over to see if they would be interested in being a part of them. And for the most part, that’s what it turned out to be, but I didn’t understand why people were always getting so dressed up. I didn’t understand the suit and tie requirement and why people were bringing their resumes. I began to believe that the visiting companies at the career fair were mainly for engineers or business majors, and not for an English major like me. I was told that some people at the career fair would be looking for someone with an English degree, especially with a focus on publishing or editing, but I was going into education and didn’t see a reason to go. 

That was until I took the class “The Education Profession” spring semester my freshman year. We were required to go to the Education Career Fair and even had class excused so that we would be able to attend. I wore a nice shirt, pants that weren’t jeans, and carried a simple resume around with me (simple, as in I did not have much to flaunt to any potential employers). When the day arrived, rows of stands were set up in an event room with a bunch of different schools and organizations on the lookout for potential teachers or leaders. I’ll admit I was nervous, as everyone acted like it was something to be nervous about, but after speaking at my first table, it became easier to speak to other tables. We were given charts that different tables would mark with a colorful stamp so we could keep track of the number of people we’d spoken to (a challenge of sorts). 

I got into the groove of asking the same questions table after table, then hearing similar questions be asked of me. I asked what sort of company they were, they answered, usually a school or occasionally a camp or, for one table, a missions group. When they asked, I told them my major and some said that they were looking for an English teacher, or might be in the future when I was ready to graduate. Some places said that they hosted schools or events over the summer that could use some assistance, whether in teaching or simply helping out with kids. There were one or two opportunities that were possible for me, but many of them were in the summer, a time that I wanted to spend at home with my family and my friends. 

When the career fair was over and class began again as usual, our professor asked us what our thoughts were on the career fair. The overarching opinion was that most of the people at the fair weren’t looking for freshmen. What the people at the fair wanted were people ready to graduate and ready to work, and, with most of us being freshmen, a lot of us didn’t find a lot of opportunities at the fair. However, looking back, do I see my time at the fair as a waste? Not at all! 

I believe that freshmen should attend the fair sooner rather than later to see for themselves how they operate, even if they aren’t expecting to get hired immediately. I feel more confident in attending future fairs, and you will feel the same. Experiencing the fair your first year will be a great advantage to your working pursuits and life outside of college. Believe me, you don’t want to be figuring out how career fair interviews work your last year at Cedarville. 

Furthermore, while there’s not a guarantee you will find work as a freshman, there are still a lot of opportunities open to everyone, whether it be volunteering, assisting, or working as an apprentice. And while I was not keen on being away from home for a summer, there are plenty of people more eager to travel than I am, and there will be plenty of people who find themselves in their element taking up such wonderful opportunities. That is, after all, part of the design of the career fair. 

Another benefit is that many companies will return the next year and the year after. Being well acquainted with and keeping an eye on future employers is a big advantage. Take into consideration what you want to do in the future and where you want to work. These businesses are on the lookout for students like you; put yourselves out there, and you will be surprised at what you find. 

And last, the career fair is actually fun. It’s called a fair after all! While there are no games and rides, you will be with many different students who are in the same place as you are professionally. Not to mention that nearly every company will be handing out pens, water bottles, and candy. Of course, you should speak to future employers with a very professional air, but you don’t need to be overly nervous! 

The career fair is a great opportunity to find future places to work and experience it all with fellow students. I believe that attending as a freshman is the best way to begin. These experiences will help you grow as a student and help you be better prepared as an upperclassman. Though it may be a little intimidating and the formal attire may make things feel a little unnatural, the career fair is actually a wonderful time! The people there are kind and are only there to help guide you to a better place for your future. I highly recommend any freshman to attend a career fair while they can and see what the future has in store. 


Want to learn more? Check out sophomore nursing major Quinci Voisard’s day-in-the-life attending a career fair Instagram takeover! 

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