Matt Lalanne / Mustang News

You’ve prepped for this. You’re wearing your most “grown-up” clothes and holding on to your resume for dear life, hoping it doesn’t look too bare compared to the others around you.

It’s time for the Spring Career Fair.

Being surrounded by a sea of professionally dressed students with the same goal as you and the same look of desperation can be overwhelming.

To calm you down, here are some things to expect at the career fair.

Time moves fast

With more than 100 companies and organizations represented at the career fair, it can be difficult to know which booths to prioritize. That’s why it’s key to prep yourself before attending. Ask yourself which employers are most important for you to see before the event ends.

“Make sure you know which companies you want to visit most and prioritize them so that you visit your top picks even if you run out of time to see them all,” art and design freshman Isabela Presedo-Floyd said. Presedo-Floyd suggested students get a head start on research to make sure no time is wasted.

“Be sure to check out the list of employers as well as their profiles, available positions and what majors those positions are open to on MustangJOBS so you can make a plan for which booths you should visit first,” she said.

Quick turnaround

After the Networking Open Forum from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., which allows you to connect with more than 150 companies, some companies will conduct interviews that same day from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. Make sure you come to the event prepared for a same-day or next-day interview.

As for companies not conducting interviews at the event, try to follow up with them as soon as possible.

Nerves

It is completely understandable to be nervous if you don’t have much experience at career fairs. Agricultural business senior Matt Emslie explained that exposure to this kind of environment is the best way to settle those nerves. Even if you aren’t looking for a job around the time of a career fair, attending can only benefit you. The more experience that you have at these events, the less nervous you will be.

“Go and put yourself out there. Practice makes perfect and the earlier you start, the better you will be in the future,” Emslie said.

According to a Facebook survey by Mustang News, students who began attending career fairs their freshman year weren’t as intimidated by the event and felt more prepared than they would have if they hadn’t started attending early.

Competition

Keep in mind that everyone is there for the same reason, so it may feel difficult to get a word in. Don’t let other students speaking to employers make you feel discouraged.  Politely wait your turn in line while still looking interested and persistent.

Major representation

There are many companies open to hiring all majors, but you may find there aren’t many companies targeting your major specifically. This will vary from one career fair to another. However, Cal Poly Career Services encourages students from all majors to attend. It may be discouraging if your major isn’t heavily represented, but try to go in with an open mind and know which companies to target.

Now that you know what to expect, get started on those preparations. If you are planning to attend the Spring Career Fair and feel unprepared, Career Services has many resources to help you feel ready to meet employers.

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