What is the actual value of career fairs for college students?

By Noah Goldberg

Staff Writer

It seems for the past five or so years of my life, on multiple occasions I find myself in a large room with countless tables filled with people trying to “sell me” on something. Whatever name one chooses to use, I am talking about the timeless events found in high schools and colleges known as college and career fairs.

The DeSales University Career Development Center hosted a career/internship fair on Tuesday Nov. 6. As the title suggests, the event involved the bringing together of business people from different Lehigh Valley companies as a networking opportunity for DeSales students. The ultimate goal for the organizers of the career fair is to get as many students as possible to make connections with Lehigh Valley companies. Whether you are a senior weighing out your job prospects after graduation or an undecided freshman in Exploratory studies, you have at least been told about the event and more than likely have been encouraged to “put on your best suit and bring some copies of your resume.”

Since my sophomore year of high school, I have been told by my parents, school faculty and many other adults in my life to take advantage of events like the career fair and the countless college fairs I attended. Whenever I think back to said college fairs, my immediate memories evoke feelings of anxiety and a fear of having too many options, which ultimately leads to struggling where to begin.

The pressures of finding the right match, whether the decision is which university to attend or where to seek out employment after graduation, is significant enough to put off many from attending such events in the first place. I recall having similar feelings my freshman year of college when I was contemplating whether I should attend a career fair event. The thought of going out and meeting members of different Lehigh Valley companies, while I had nothing significant to put on a resume and no real experience outside of high school, was enough to discourage me from attending.

Sharing my thoughts on college and career fairs does not mean to chalk them up as inherently negative entities but rather to showcase that they are not a person’s only option. For example, I did not choose to attend DeSales University because someone I spoke to at a college fair told me I should. I started my college search by asking for the opinions of people in my life whose thoughts I value such as friends and family members. Also, I did not find the company I interned at this past summer through a career fair. I secured my internship because I kept myself open to opportunities coming from outside of the career fair and outside of the Lehigh Valley.

Ultimately, my goal is not to discourage the notion of attending a career fair but to say that it is not the “end all be all” to one’s future in terms of employment opportunities. I encourage anyone who has interest in the companies attending a career fair to go make a positive first impression.

Leave a Reply