What’s next? Seniors look for answers at career fair
It’s one of the scariest questions that college seniors face: what do I do after graduation?
Then other questions come to mind: where am I going to work? Should I go to graduate school? Should I go back and add another major? Questions that are also asked by family and friends at every gathering.
For many seniors, myself included, finding a job is the focus and a job fair is a great place to start.
UIC held an All-Majors Career Fair March 19 where students could meet with more than 70 businesses looking for students to fill part-time, full-time and internship positions. Hoping to not be another I-have-a-degree-but-no-job college graduate, I went to the job fair.
The Illinois Room in Student Center East was full of students dressed professionally: suits, ties, high heels, the whole nine yards. I saw friends, acquaintances and people I’d never seen before. At the fair, we were all competitors vying for the same jobs — searching for the same opportunity that would prevent us from living in mom’s basement for a few years.
Some students were focused and had an agenda, going from booth to booth talking confidently and swiftly while passing out their résumés or business cards. They played the numbers game. If 40 businesses had their résumé, there was no way one wouldn’t at least call them, right?
Other students took their time, walking around observing the controlled chaos of hundreds of students competing for 10 minutes of an employer’s time. That was the approach I took, hoping that patience would pay off.
Although there were more than 70 businesses represented, some booths clearly had students’ interest more than others. Waves of students flooded these booths while employers did their best to give every student a fair shot.
I stopped at a few booths, passed out a few résumés and had some great conversations with a few employers. I didn’t play the numbers game but I talked to businesses that I had a genuine interest in and could see myself working at in the future.
Something I did must have paid off, because in the last two weeks I was contacted by three different businesses and have interviews with them in the next few weeks.
With a little over a month left in the school year, it’s crunch time. Hopefully the time and effort all the seniors put in at the career fair pays dividends. If not, keep your head up and keep looking. We’re all going to be fine.
Good luck and congrats to all the seniors graduating in May.