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Reasons to not attend a career fair

“Why do so many graduate students and post-docs not take advantage of the Graduate Student Career Fair or other fairs on Purdue’s campus?”, we wondered. In this blog post, we identify some of their reasons, and discuss why they aren’t such great reasons after all:

  • I want a faculty job. Universities don’t recruit at career fairs.

True, academic departments have a very different recruitment process. But, given the fact that tenure track lines are drying up across disciplines, it won’t hurt to consider career opportunities beyond academia. And talking to recruiters is one of the ways to learn about your options. [Another way: talk to us!]

  • It’s a waste of time because who gets a job from a career fair? Nobody.

Actually, recruiters at Purdue do hire fair attendees. Also, be realistic about all that you ARE getting from the fair: professional contacts and information about careers and industries without having to step off campus. You never know how one contact from one table at one career fair could lead to the perfect job.

  • I don’t have the time.

Well, that’s understandable. You are, after all, at a world-renowned R-1. But, please, try to make time. Companies spend good money to travel to Purdue to recruit some of the finest talent. And, with some prep, you can navigate the fair efficiently. Come, be seen, be recruited.

  • The recruiters usually ask me to apply online anyway. And they won’t take my resume.

It may be company policy. Nothing personal. They may not want to worry about carrying stacks of paper around and/or risk losing or damaging them. Your resume is more searchable in an electronic database. They may prefer to use an ATS. They may want to gauge your level of interest: are you just stopping by every single table at the fair or do you really care enough to follow up and apply online?

In summary, there’s no good reason to not attend a career fair! And plenty of reasons toattend. Keep an eye on the CCO calendar, check out our blog posts, and come network with recruiters in Fall 2016!

Graduate students & postdocs: Follow @GradProfCareers for career exploration & professional development resources.

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