Suit Up: It’s the Career Fair

In the last two days, the shorts and tshirt wearing student population suddenly transformed into business executives in formals. At any given time today in central campus, you could spot at least ten students in suits, with a folder full of resume copies. Welcome to Career Fair Fall 2013.

With the abundance formally dressed students, signs pointing towards the career fair and conversations starters such as –

“Why are you so dressed up?”

“Are you going to the career fair?”

“Oh, when is the career fair?

This event is hard to miss. So this morning, I wore formal pants and a black sweater over a collared,crisp shirt and decided to attend the fair. As most of the experience I listed on my resume seemed silly to me, I did not bother to print copies of my resume. Anyway, it would be ridiculous to expect to bag an internship opportunity the first time I set foot in a career fair in my freshman year.

As I entered Barton Hall, where the fair was held, perhaps I looked overwhelmed. There were numerous stalls and a swarm of students dressed in black and white. An employee of Cornell’s Career Services sensed my hesitation and called me over. He advised me to “get a name tag, walk around, take a look at the companies and if any of them interest you, go talk to them. It’s not an issue that you’re a freshman.”

That little encouragement along the way seemed to be just what I needed. I felt under-dressed and purposeless amid the students in suits with resumes in hand and job offers on their minds. But I managed to navigate through the maze in Barton Hall and  inquire about internships at some of the tech companies present there.

I also happened to run into some classmates. For most of us freshmen, the career fair was just a new experience. We didn’t expect anything out of it, but the free goodies didn’t hurt. If not an internship, a free water bottle is enough consolation right now. Never mind the company name and logo on it.

At Amazon’s stall, the representative said to a group of freshmen, “Most of our interns are rising seniors. You can submit your resume, but if you don’t make it, don’t worry. You can always come next time.” That sentence was  the highlight of my experience at the career fair. By the next major career fair, I hope to have some marketable skills on my resume and a few more formal outfits in my closet.