I was extremely nervous about the University of Texas at Dallas career fair, considering this was my first time going and I had built an idea in my mind that this was a make-or-break situation. “If I mess this up, I will never be hirable,” I thought. Many of my friends told me to calm down and that the expo was nothing like that, but I was nervous nonetheless.
To prepare, I dressed up as nicely as I could and reviewed my resume to make sure it was up-to-date and presentable. After printing out ten copies, I walked over to the event, all the while running scenarios in my head of how my conversations would go. I grew scared as I approached the room holding the expo, but I trudged on despite myself.
As soon as I entered through the doors, I ran into my wonderful roommate Sanya who agreed to walk with me a bit as I got a feel for what was going on. She mentioned a food company present at the expo, and I was so caught off-guard by the randomness of a food company being at STEM Day that I just had to see what this was about.
I walked up to FoodTemps and met the recruiter and owner and spoke with him for a long time about the opportunities with his business. Considering what he was offering was only an event-based job with satisfying pay, I walked away feeling like this would be a great lead for a holiday job.
Almost thirty seconds after leaving FoodTemps, a gentleman standing at another booth called out to me saying, “Angie, didn’t you want to stop by here?” He was very friendly and I was curious why he had called me out. Eventually he made it clear that his company was looking to hire MIS graduates, but when I told him I was only a junior searching for an internship, the interest waned. Still, he was very pleasant about this situation and offered that I come back again to next year’s Career Expo to speak with him again.
I rejoined with Sanya and as we discussed the last two companies, we ran into many more friends of ours. Together, we all traded stories about who we had spoken with, possible leads, and what cool souvenirs each company was giving out (Honda’s rainbow sticky-note pad was very popular). Afterwards, Sanya left, and I teamed up with my friend Jeff to find one last company that offered both Computer Science and MIS positions (Jeff’s major and mine, respectively).
We settled on MedAssets, a nationwide company with a nearby location in Plano. I went to speak with the recruiter first and he let me know that MedAssets is offering summer internships in Data Modeling – which sounded inviting to me – however, the application term would not start until the spring. After a little more chatting about how I should apply, I thanked him and walked away and then Jeff took his turn speaking with the recruiter. Once he had finished, we both walked out of the room and filled out a survey about our experience at the Expo before leaving.
In summation, I am very happy that I took the opportunity to see first-hand what this event was like since I had heard so many promising things about it. Speaking with the recruiters was not as terrifying as I had imagined it would be, and I was pleased that I was able to make it through every conversation without completely forgetting the things I wanted to say.
I was still a little nervous to walk around peacefully, but otherwise the expo was a breeze to traverse. As it is, I am more focused on internships opportunities that are available through upcoming information sessions and on my school’s career website. So even though I did not leave with a solid lead or opportunity, I was content to have experienced the scene. I feel I am better prepared for future career expos where I will come in with a more aggressive approach, determined to get at least one interview offer.
Angela Coquis is a junior at the University of Texas at Dallas. She is majoring in Management Information Systems and wants to live abroad and pursue a career in database management. She enjoys Virtual Campus and her dream job is owning a bakery.