How I Survived My “First” Career Fair

 By Alexas​ ​Durr

I​ ​attended​ ​my​ ​”first”​ ​career​ ​fair​ ​last​ ​last month ​and​ ​to​ ​say​ ​I​ ​was​ ​nervous​ ​is​ ​an​ ​understatement. I​ ​was​ ​scared​ ​out​ ​my​ ​mind. The things is ​I​ ​attended​ ​a​ ​career​ ​fair​ ​as​ ​a​ ​freshman,​ ​but​ ​it​ ​was​ ​so​ ​overwhelming​ ​that​ ​I​ ​had​ ​to​ ​leave.​ ​

But now,​ ​as​ ​a​ ​junior​ ​at​ ​UGA,​ ​I​ ​found​ ​out​ ​I​ ​was​ ​just​ ​underprepared.​ ​Here’s​ ​why and hopefully it helps you.

Use Your Resources

I​ ​did​ ​not​ ​use​ ​the​ ​resources​ ​that​ ​UGA​ ​had​ ​to​ ​offer​ ​me.  I​ ​had​ ​a​ ​resume.​ ​I​ ​had​ ​professional​ ​clothing.​ ​I​ ​could​ ​talk​ ​about​ ​my​ ​goals​ ​and aspirations.​ ​But​ ​how​ ​did​ ​I​ ​put​ ​that​ ​all​ ​together?​ ​How​ ​do​ ​I​ ​seem​ ​like​ ​I​ ​am​ ​the​ ​best candidate​ ​when​ ​I​ ​have​ ​little​ ​work​ ​experience​ ​in​ ​the​ ​field(s)​ ​I​ ​am​ ​interested​ ​in?​ ​I didn’t​ ​use​ ​the​ ​UGA’s​ ​Career​ ​Services.​

​I​ ​pay​ ​$26,000​ ​a​ ​year​ ​for​ ​an​ ​education​ ​at the​ ​flagship​ ​institution​ ​and​ ​did​ ​not​ ​use​ ​one​ ​service​ ​that​ ​this​ ​department​ ​had​ ​to offer.​ ​Why?​ ​I​ ​was​ ​lazy.​ ​I​ ​didn’t​ ​want​ ​to​ ​be​ ​great.​ ​I​ ​was​ ​setting​ ​myself​ ​to​ ​be mediocre.​

​It​ ​took​ ​a​ ​relationship​ ​with​ ​the​ ​Diversity​ ​Career​ ​Consultant​ ​(and​ ​a​ ​major change)​ ​and​ ​I​ ​wanted​ ​to​ ​be​ ​like​ ​her​ ​(Shoutout​ ​to​ ​Shayna​ ​for​ ​being​ ​amazing).​ ​She sat​ ​me​ ​down​ ​and​ ​made​ ​me​ ​realize​ ​that​ ​I​ ​had​ ​to​ ​do​ ​the​ ​work​ ​in​ ​order​ ​tone​ ​great, especially​ ​when​ ​I​ ​have​ ​all​ ​the​ ​resources.

Know Yourself, Know Your Worth

You​ ​know​ ​yourself​ ​best.  People​ ​can​ ​advocate​ ​for​ ​you​ ​all​ ​day​ ​long,​ ​but​ ​the​ ​only​ ​person​ ​who​ ​knows​ ​you best​ ​is​ ​you.​ ​Working​ ​with​ ​recruiting​ ​programs​ ​has​ ​made​ ​me​ ​realize​ ​that​ ​I​ ​​ ​am​ ​the only​ ​person​ ​who​ ​voice​ ​my​ ​perspective​ ​and​ ​that​ ​my​ ​input​ ​is​ ​more​ ​valuable​ ​on​ ​my own​ ​story​ ​because​ ​I​ ​am​ ​living​ ​it.​ ​I​ ​know​ ​what​ ​I​ ​truly​ ​want​ ​and​ ​nobody​ ​else​ ​can​ ​get that​ ​for​ ​me.


Hype Yourself Up

I​ ​knocked​ ​myself​ ​out​ ​before​ ​employers​ ​did. I​ ​came​ ​up​ ​with​ ​every​ ​excuse​ ​on​ ​why​ ​employers​ ​would​ ​not​ ​want​ ​me.​ ​But,​ ​I ​should’ve​ ​been​ ​telling​ ​myself​ ​reasons​ ​why​ ​they​ ​will​ ​want​ ​me.​ ​I​ ​psyched​ ​myself​ ​out​ ​by creating​ ​the​ ​”bad”​ ​candidate​ ​image​ ​of​ ​myself.​ ​

So,​ ​this​ ​year,​ ​I​ ​went​ ​in​ ​with​ ​an open​ ​mind​ ​and​ ​used​ ​my​ ​experience​ ​on​ ​campus​ ​to​ ​show​ ​how​ ​I​ ​can​ ​be​ ​a​ ​benefit​ ​to a​ ​program.

Initiate Conversation

I​ ​asked​ ​a​ ​million​ ​questions. One​ ​thing​ ​I​ ​learned​ ​is​ ​that​ ​employers​ ​actually​ ​like​ ​to​ ​see​ ​you’ve​ ​done​ ​your research​ ​and​ ​that​ ​you​ ​have​ ​questions​ ​about​ ​positions​ ​in​ ​the company/organization.​

​I’m​ ​a​ ​Human​ ​Development​ ​major,​ ​so​ ​I​ ​would​ ​ask employers​ ​how​ ​can​ ​the​ ​skills​ ​I​ ​learn​ ​through​ ​my​ ​major​ ​can​ ​help​ ​me​ ​within​ ​the company​ ​(because​ ​let’s​ ​be​ ​real,​ ​they​ ​can​ ​teach​ ​me​ ​all​ ​the​ ​technical​ ​skills​ ​later).

Now,​ ​this​ ​isn’t​ ​everything​ ​that​ ​can​ ​make​ ​or​ ​break​ ​a​ ​career​ ​fair​ ​for​ ​some,​ ​but​ ​for​ ​me,​ ​the​ ​career never​ ​seemed​ ​like​ ​a​ ​place​ ​for​ ​me.​ ​Yet,​ ​my​ ​second​ ​attempt​ ​was​ ​way​ ​more​ ​successful​ ​because​ ​I changed​ ​my​ ​mindset​ ​and​ ​made​ ​it​ ​a​ ​point​ ​to​ ​make​ ​myself​ ​gain​ ​connections.​

​I’m​ ​not​ ​saying​ ​I’ll​ ​be working​ ​or​ ​AT&T​ ​or​ ​Ernst​ ​&​ ​Young​ ​anytime​ ​soon,​ ​but​ ​meeting​ ​with​ ​recruiters​ ​and​ ​making​ ​them see​ ​my​ ​interest​ ​in​ ​the​ ​company/​ ​organization​ ​is​ ​more​ ​realistic​ ​than​ ​just​ ​going​ ​to​ ​the​ ​table​ ​just​ ​to say​ ​I​ ​went.

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