ACES Career Fair Advice

ACES Career Fair Advice

Sep 12
Ellen Reeder, Senior in ACES

When I was a freshman, an upperclassman told me that I should attend the career fair and hand out resumes like I was a senior on the job hunt. They told me that as a freshman I needed to get my name in front of as many companies as possible and get some practice under my belt for when the time came to really look for an internship and eventually a job after graduation. At the time I was quite lost, but looking back I think this is one of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever received.

I went to The Limited’s annual suit sale, got my resume critiqued, practiced my elevator speech for my mom about a million times, and scoured the shelves of every office supply store for the resume paper that everyone seemed to be sold out of. I was ready.

The day of the ACES Career Fair arrived and I made my lap around the room full of displays. I found a small company that my family does business with and saw a familiar face, so I made that my practice company. It went alright, and I decided I was ready to start handing out resumes like it was my job.

After handing out about 12 resumes, I realized I only had a few left and at the end of the room was John Deere. There was a line of about 15 people long and they were all upperclassmen, but I knew that if I walked past I would regret it later.

When I got to the front of the line, I proudly rattled off my elevator speech. The recruiter took a glance at my resume and asked me a few questions, but he told me that normally only upperclassmen are offered interviews.

I left the career fair feeling a bit discouraged, but a little proud of myself for handing out so many resumes. Later that afternoon, I had several phone calls for campus interviews the next day, and one was from John Deere. I was ecstatic!

The summer after my freshman year, I ended up interning with Crop Production Services in Bloomington, Illinois. But, when career fair rolled around during my sophomore year, I already had a few interviews lined up and I was ready to take on the day with some experience under my belt. Since then, I’ve done three internships with John Deere and I owe it all to that upperclassman’s advice.    

I guess it’s my turn to be the upperclassman with some words of wisdom. I’ll state it simply with a few steps.

1. Get your resume together and have it critiqued by ACES Career Services.
2. Get a suit. You might not think you need one now, but trust me you will.
3. Practice your elevator speech and some interview questions even if it’s just with your mom.
4. Go to the career fair and hand out those resumes like it’s your job. Don’t spend your time there socializing with your friends. Force yourself to step out of your comfort zone and talk to the recruiters because they’re really nice people and some are even ACES alumni! They want to help you and they may even be your next boss.