Career Fairs and How to Navigate Them
Hello! Even though college is just starting, there are several Career Fairs already around the corner. But do not fear, we’ll provide you with resources to ensure that you’re confident and comfortable for any Career Fair you plan on attending.
The first thing you should do is scope out which of the Career Fairs you are interested in attending.
It can be exhausting to attend all the fairs, so you may only choose to attend one or two, which is perfectly normal. To help narrow down which fairs to go to, you should first look at the list of employees attending. Pick the fairs that have companies that compel you the most. This does not need to be the Big 4, it can be startups or even Walmart or McDonalds.
I once went to a table for Target to see what they had to offer.
After deciding which fairs you want to go to, pick your top 3–5 companies and explore their websites to learn more about them.
Look at their mission statement and values and be aware of current projects they’re working on. When you talk with recruiters, they will notice who put in the time to learn about their company’s culture. Students that make the greatest impressions are able to share how their own stories, projects, and goals align with the company’s work and how this makes them an excellent candidate for an internship/job.
After this, you’ll need to develop your pitch and create your resume.
Look through Handshake’s Virtual Career Fair Resources to learn how to prepare your elevator pitch, craft a resume, and stand out to employers during a virtual fair.
For additional resources on crafting your resume, be sure to look at our Career Center Resources page, which has a section on writing resumes.
You can also visit the Career Center’s 15 minute drop-in sessions, available every Tuesday through Thursday from 10am-2pm PDT, if you have more questions on creating your pitch, polishing your resume, or navigating the Career Fairs.
When attending the Career Fair, make sure to always ask the recruiters for their LinkedIn and email to connect with them afterwards.
Some students have found emails to be more helpful in facilitating connections while others have had better experiences with LinkedIn, it really depends on the recruiter. This article from themuse provides great templates you can use to connect with a recruiter for the first time.
The most important thing is to go in confident and prepared!
It’s okay if you don’t have all the requisite qualifications; if you really like a company, talk to their recruiter and show off your passion!
And remember, all of this is a learning experience so don’t feel too dejected if things don’t pan out 100%! I attended Career Fairs for the first time last year as a sophomore and while I did not get any interviews, I definitely learned a lot during the process and I’ll be back at it again this year, better than before!
I also encourage you to read ACM’s extremely thorough article on preparing for Career Fairs to get a more CS-centric guide on preparing for Career Fairs. It provides further details on specific steps to research companies and how you can use this to craft your pitch. I highly, highly recommend you check this out!
CS related Career Fairs Fall 2021 Schedule
UCLA Engineering & Tech Fair — Fall 2020 — VIRTUAL
Tuesday, October 11–12 2:00pm — 7:00pm PDT
This Career Fair is organized by the Career Center and is targeted towards all engineering majors. The Career Fair on October 11th is focused on computer and data science opportunities and the Career Fair on October 12th is more general and focuses on engineering opportunities. Register through Handshake by going to the events tab and clicking the “Career fair” filter by the top search bar or by clicking this link for the October 11th fair and this link for the October 12th fair. Registration will open on Tuesday, September 28.
Please read the bullets on the registration page to learn more about how to prepare for the event. Scroll to the bottom of the page to see a list of employees attending. Some notable companies include Sony, Roku, and Foursquare.
Computer Science Career Fair — Fall 2020 — VIRTUAL
This Career Fair is organized by the UCLA Computer Science Department, in collaboration with ACM and UPE. The details are being finalized but in the past, this event was open to all CS/CSE/CE majors. You will be able to sign up for this event through an RSVP form that will be posted on both the UPE at UCLA and ACM at UCLA Facebook pages. The Computer Science Department will also be sending out an email with these details once it is closer to the event. Previous employees who attended include Facebook, Google, and Blizzard Entertainment.