Allison's Online Portfolio

Eagle Expo Career Fair

Posted on: April 13, 2010

I’ve been to a few career fairs in the last year. I attended one at the PRSSA National Conference in San Diego in November. I also went to one in Atlanta at PR Real World. These two career fairs were good because they catered directly to students in Public Relations and because they were national companies, which was really cool. At the one in San Diego I was able to network with PR professionals at very well known companies like the CW television network, Ketchum, and Edelman Public Relations. This was exciting, but I didn’t feel like I was able to really talk to these people because there were 1,000 other students just like me at the fair as well. The career fair in Atlanta had many of the same companies and I liked it better because it was smaller and there were far fewer people. Unfortunately, I really didn’t feel like I got too much out of that career fair either. However, in February I went to the Georgia Southern Eagle Expo & Education Career Fair and it was excellent.

 The Eagle Expo was large and had a lot of different companies who were actually looking for interns and looking to hire soon-to-be grads. While there weren’t any Public Relations firms at the Expo, there were other companies who were interested in students in Public Relations and Marketing (which is my minor). I talked to many different companies but the two companies whose reps I was really able to engage in conversations with were Belk (the department store) and Aerotek, which is a recruiting agency. I felt like I made good connections with these people and I was able to give them my resume and my business card.

 While I know that career fairs are really good for networking and making connections with people that could help you get a job, I’m really not a fan. They are so awkward and uncomfortable. To be honest, the only part I enjoy is the free stuff that the reps hand out to attract you to their tables. However, at all of the career fairs I go to I observe the people who look like they really know what they’re doing. The Type A’s who attack the company reps and pretty much just let them know that they are the best at what they do and that the company would be stupid not to hire them. I aspire to be one of these people. Sadly, I am not. However, I have learned a few things from these career fair mavens. After many hours of being the girl who stands behind the powerful people in awe and throws my resume at the rep when they’re done being dazzled by the confident person in front of me, I developed a few strategies.   Feel free to test them out.

  1. Go to the rep with the shortest line or no line at all. These people are usually from the companies that are not very well known, don’t have much signage, and aren’t handing out anything exciting like cups, candy, or pens (who doesn’t love a free pen?). These are also the people with whom you will have the best shot of engaging in conversation. At the Eagle Expo I talked to the rep from Aerotek for close to 30 minutes; which is a rarity for me at a career fair. She was so nice and friendly and actually asked me for my resume instead of me having to ask her if she would accept it.
  2. Do your homework. The confident people at the career fair always seem to know about the companies and know exactly which ones they want to talk to. Before you go to the career fair, go online and check out the companies that will be there. If you’ve never heard of a company, look it up and see what they do. If any of these companies interest you then when you go to the career fair you can say, for example, “I know that your company is a recruiting agency, but could you explain to me a little more about what exactly you do.” This way, you have an easy way to break the ice. Nothing is worse than trying to talk to a rep and having no way to start the conversation so you just kind of stare at each other. Also, when you look up the companies know which ones you really want to go to and hit those up first. You don’t want to waste valuable time on companies that you have no interest in. However, if you have extra time you should go to booths that you don’t have much interest in because you might end up finding something you like about it.
  3. Don’t just dress the part, act it! I’ve noticed that the people who are good at career fairing are not only dressed very professionally, but they also act in a professional, confident manner. I’m so jealous of these people. It’s easy to look the part: a nice pair of slacks, a well-fitting jacket, sensible shoes, etc. However, being confident in your skin is a totally different story.  I like to have a career fair buddy. I’m more confident when I have a friend with me and I feel like it eases the pressure a bit. I highly recommend this tactic, however, if your friend is the Type A person who is going to steal the whole spotlight, you’re better off going solo.

 Hopefully, you are all the confident people that hog the spotlight at the career fairs. However, if you’re the lowly person in the shadows, like me, then try using one or all of these tips. They helped me. I also highly recommend you attend the Eagle Expo Career Fair. It is held in the fall and in the spring and is well worth the awkwardness.

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19 Responses to "Eagle Expo Career Fair"

Allison, you hit the nail on the head! Career Fairs are great, but who really wants to go to one. Better yet, can you say awkward! Like you, I’m not much of a spotlight hog and I tend to cringe at the thought of going to a Career Fair. However, I am very good at the one on one interviewing with employers. Career Fairs always give me the image of buzzards flying around a dead carcass…each one just watching the other, and waiting for someone to make a move. Dramatic I know! (lol) As you can tell, they aren’t my favorite either. Thanks for the tips though, maybe that will help me from hiding in the corner 🙂

Hey Allison. You are right career fairs are always an interesting experience. Unfortunately I’ve only had the experience of the Careet Expo but I bet the PRSSA career fair and the PR Real World event were far more interesting because like you said they were directly to PR majors like ourselves. As far as the expo goes I attend and I think the event is more for the business majors and minors like yourself. Although there weren’t any PR firms there, like you said there were some internship positions in communications. I think we have the same mindset about careers because I’m not the biggest fan of those either. Personally I feel it rushes the interpersonal communication between the company and the potential employee eventhough you are face to face with the company of your interest. With the Eagle Expo in particular I think the variety of companies is slanted toward COBA students and not so much as the entire school. But the tips you gave are really good. They help you to realize that you must go out and get what you want. GOOD JOB.

• That’s a really good idea about doing your homework about the different clients that are going to be at the career fair. It sounds awesome to a company when they can tell that you have actually done your research and maybe they will eventually hire you. Honestly, I would feel like a total idiot going up to a company I was interested in and not being able to ask appropriate questions about the different careers that they offer. Also, I thought that was a really great idea about standing in the shorter lines. I think especially in college there are a lot of companies we are not familiar with a thus don’t try and learn more about them. Talking to one of the reps could actually show us that they seem great and maybe interested in giving them a resume.

This was a really great, informative post. It definitely sounds like you did your homework in relation to this career fair. I wanted to attend this fair but with all the school work piling up, I unfortunately was not able to make it. But it sounds like got a lot out of it which is awesome! I would have been so nervous going up to these big companies and trying to strike up a conversationg without stuttering or making a fool of myself. I probably would have asked the companies questions that did not even relate to them. Anyways, great job on your post! Good luck with the end of your semester!

How did you find out about the career fair in Atlanta…mutual friend, internet, etc? That sounds like something that would be a little different from the career fairs around here. Great tips by the way…especially the short lines. I’ve never actually looked at it that way. Usually you just think that they are the less popular choice or something. However I do think that career fairs can be a bust. There are so many people there and so many people that you would like to talk to. It gets a little overwhelming. I did like your tips though, maybe they will come in handy for me at future career fairs.

Hey Allison- It is funny how you talked about being the person behind the A type personality stunning a company executive with their resume because this is why I have shunned away from going to career fairs. I am not much for competition in front of such a large group, but I really enjoyed reading the tips that you have developed from your experience. I think it is a great idea to go to tables that do not have as much of a brand name or long line in front of it because an opportunity could be waiting, as well as a position that would be great experience before working for a large corporation. Great post!

[…] #16 Allison’s post “Eagle Expo Career Fair” […]

It sounds like you got some pretty good experience from these career fairs. I definitely have to agree with you about not being a fan of career fairs. They kind remind me of blind dates: kind of awkward, not sure what to talk about, don’t know if you really want them to call you back or not, etc. Also, I find myself being one of those type B people you are talking about. I don’t quite put myself out there enough. I suppose that’s what these career fairs are for, sort of a transition into to the awkward world of interviewing.

Hi Allison!
I really enjoyed reading your blog about the Eagle Expo Career Fair. I noticed that you said you went to the National Conference in San Diego last November…that is Really Cool!! I would have loved to gone, but I had too many conflicts with my schedule. It was nice to hear what you had to say though, and read the differences between the two. It appears that at the San Diego Career Fair you were able to meet more PR Professionals, but you did not get to interact with them like you could at the Eagle Expo Career. That is one great thing about Georgia Southern! Anyways, just wanted to let you know I enjoyed your blog! Thanks, Kristin

[…] 2. Allison Allmond- Eagle Expo Career Fair […]

After reading your post I agree with you on several of the points you made. I recently attended an Eagle Expo Career Fair and experienced similar situations. The fair had no Pr companies. I didn’t feel like the particular fair I attended benefited me as much as the others you mentioned in the beginning would have. I too found them to be a little uncomfortable and awkward at times. However, I found that once I began talking to the representatives it was easier than I initially thought. Although I didn’t walk away with a potential job or internship, I knew the experience better prepared me for future fairs I will attend.

Allison-

I totally agree with you on how you feel about career fairs. I went to the Eagle Expo too and I was slightly disappointed that there weren’t any PR firms there. It was good to see that other companies were interested in us PR majors though! Even though I didn’t walk away with an internship or job, attending the Eagle Expo definitely allowed me to make some good connections as well and it was a helpful experience atleast! I think that the Eagle Expo could be improved by having more variety of business and companies. Maybe next year we will have more luck!

[…] is a list of all the blogs I have commented on with link’s to the blogs too! 1. Comment on Eagle Expo Career Fair, written by Allyson Almond: April 2010- “Allison, I totally agree with you on how you feel […]

The career fair at San Diego was hard to feel confident at since there were so many other public relations students there talking to the same companies that you were. Although Marilyn got her starring role on the Vampire Diaries at this event, she is one in a million. Kidding. But in all seriousness, I feel as if a lot of careers fairs are so competitive because there are so many of us talking and competing for the exact same jobs or positions. Maybe there will be even more opportunities for you since you are not graduating just yet. I hope there will be more for you than I was able to take advantage of.

[…] Allison Allmond, Eagle expo career […]

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