Editorial: Attend the career fairs


A recruiter from Buildertrend greets a prospective intern on Sept. 20. Buildertrend has developed an app which streamlines homebuilding workflows and keeps financial records. According to Buildertrend’s website, its app has managed more than $50 billion worth of projects over the course of its lifetime.

Editorial Board

The Career Fair, The Career Fair, The Career Fair!

More than just a mass of warm, hopeful bodies all gathered together in narrow byways, heaving and wriggling in a mess of ill-fitting suits, crammed-in stalls replete with equal parts disinterested or over-zealous attendants, sharp-eyed representatives despondently shuffling through a stack of résumés.

More than just a day for the feverishly nervous interviewees, clutching at express-purchased briefcases or portfolios, dug out from parents’ closets or yanked from the university’s bookstore shelves in a moment of uncertain, barely-willing desperation.

More than just the culmination of a semester’s spent compiling the perfect résumé, the perfect portfolio, the best sort of font with the best sort of spacing with the best sort of action verbs; more than just any of this.

The career fair is something to prepare for, and the career fair is something worthwhile.

Though not many student attendees will come away from the career fair with a definite interview, the opportunity for networking is not something to miss. Establishing relationships with employers and their representatives, distributing résumés or portfolios, educating yourself about what organizations or firms are interested in hiring — these are all valuable payoffs to attending, and, though it might be hassle and an inconvenience, all reasons for marking out the date on your calendar.

Next week, three career fairs will take place at Iowa State. The first, on Tuesday, is the granddaddy of them all — the Engineering Career Fair — which spans across both the extent of Hilton Coliseum and the upper floors of the Scheman Building. The doors to both will open at noon and close at 6 p.m.    

On Wednesday, both the Business, Industry and Technology Career Fair (at Hilton), and the People to People Career Fair (at Scheman) will take place. Both will open at noon and close at 6 p.m.

Attending these career fairs might not at first seem like a particularly attractive prospect, or a particularly useful one. Some will say that it’s only the upperclassmen who benefit. The weather likely will be cold, dressing up might be off-putting, you might have to miss a class or two. But there’s still value in attending.

Beside the benefits already mentioned, and aside from the platitudes often heard — the importance of dressing appropriately, coming prepared, visiting employers you’re most interested in first and much more — there is one last thing we’d like to remind you of: learn from your surroundings. See what others are doing well. See what others aren’t doing well. This is an excellent opportunity to survey the competition, and to modify your strategies accordingly.

In any case, choosing to attend one or more of the career fairs will not in any way work against you. You’ll never discover what opportunities exist without seeking them proactively, and there’s simply no reason not to give them at least a shot. Put yourself out there.