Attending a career fair can be a daunting prospect and it was for this sophomore undergrad! Even though I am more than halfway through my second year at Rutgers and I have taken part in various networking events, I had never attended the formal career fair that the Rutgers Business School holds every semester.
In fact, I would always somehow find an excuse to not attend. But, this semester I decided I had to attend, especially since I am now knee-deep in the summer internship search – what better way to find out what is available than to attend the Rutgers Business School Career Fair?
Rutgers Business School plays host to around 50 companies who are looking to connect with Rutgers students. Their career fairs are exclusive to business majors only and therefore students have a concentrated, targeted, and focused access to employers who are interested in recruiting students studying in these areas. It is a chance for us to meet employers who may have opportunities in areas of interest and it is a chance for employers to establish an on-campus presence and brand awareness.
I was always intimidated by the RBS Career Fairs; it was something that upperclassmen attended and for me to attend these events when I wasn’t fully prepared seemed disastrous. Thankfully, the school offers a mock career fair, but unfortunately it wasn’t until this year that I found out about it.
The mock career fair was a chance for us students to practice our skills and beat nerves before the real event. It was set up like a real career fair where we had to dress professionally, carry plenty of resumes, and have our elevator speech perfected, but the difference was that it was a trial run. After participating in the mock career fair, I was definitely more prepared than I would be otherwise and preparation is always an antidote to nerves.
Well, after days of preparation and after research of companies I would like to approach, it was finally the day of the event! I was a tad nervous but with the knowledge that I was prepared to talk to employers, the anxiety soon abated. In order to increase my confidence, I worked my way up by approaching those employers I was least interested in until I was confident enough to network with my employers of interest.
By arriving at the venue early, I had enough time to network with all companies. I learned a lot about the programs they offered for sophomores and rising juniors and of the internship opportunities that were available. Additionally, employers were receptive to questions and were very willing to share their experiences and advice for college students. All in all, I had gathered a lot of information and hopefully I had made favorable impressions.
In the end, I believe I gained the skill to network with confidence and this was something I seemed to lack. As an introvert, I found it difficult to approach people with a pitch planned out, but now with practice, I’ve become more comfortable with it. In the future, I hope to attend more events and I certainly won’t shy away from attending any career fairs!
Jaskamal Gill will graduate in 2016 from Rutgers University with a degree in accounting and a minor in English. Jaskamal plans on working for a Big 4 firm after college and getting her MBA. She dreams of starting her own business and enjoys Virtual Campus.