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The Reverse Career Fair

A guide for the Reverse Career Fair

October 28, 2019 6:28 PM

On September 25th, the Career Center hosted the Career Fair in the Retriever Activity Center. For those who didn’t attend, a Career Fair is a fair held to help students get employed. Employers set up booths and students go between them to talk to employers and give out their resumes for potential job openings. This year, we had over 160 employers set up booths in the RAC for students to network with. This is the most we’ve ever had at a Career Center hosted Career Fair.

Coming up, the Career Center is hosting the Reverse Career Fair on Friday, November 1st. A Reverse Career Fair, similar to a Career Fair, is another opportunity for students to connect with potential employers. Instead of students moving from booth to booth, student organizations set up booths and hand out their resumes to employers who are moving between student booths. This time the employers come to you!

The Reverse Career Fair is different. It removes some of the pressure from the student and allows those of us who are a little bit more nervous talking to potential employers to show that we have the networking and work skills employers are looking for. Another benefit of attending a UMBC hosted Reverse Career Fair is that employers are looking to hire UMBC students. These employers know UMBC, some of them have even attended, and so they know our students are competent and driven workers. Unfortunately, registration is closed, but for the student organizations who are signed up, here are some steps you can take to navigate the Reverse Career Fair.

The first step is to update your resume. A resume is often an employer’s first impression of a potential employee, and a good one means a good first impression. Make sure your resume is up to date with all of your activities and work experience you’ve participated in recently, then be sure to come into the Career Center for a resume review to make sure it’s the best resume it can be! Drop-in hours are Monday through Thursday from 2 pm to 4 pm and on Fridays from 12 pm to 4 pm. Of course, you can always make a 30- minute or 60-minute appointment with a Career Specialist through UMBCWorks with the Schedule an Appointment button.

The next step is to craft a 30-second commercial with the help of the Career Center’s Career Guide. The 30-second commercial is a quick summary of who you are, your skills, your interests, and your goals. It’s meant to give an employer an idea of who you are and potentially start a conversation. The 30-second commercial may seem like an unnecessary step, but when employers walk up to you and ask you to tell them about yourself, you’ll be prepared to answer that question and steer the conversation towards what it is you want to achieve and how that coincides with the goal of the company or organization you want to work with. Don’t forget to practice!

Finally, work with your student organization to craft a stellar table-top display that will attract employers to your table. Don’t just stand around the table with your resumes, show off your organization! What do you do that is interesting and fun? If you build robots, bring one of your projects. If you do graphic design, have samples of your work up for display. It helps to have something tangible and visible that your organization has worked to create. Have a display that explains what your organization does and how those skills transfer to the workforce. Similar to Involvement Fest, what brings people to your table will make the difference in who talks to you at the Reverse Career Fair. Plus, it’s a wonderful ice breaker that shows off a part of your personality and who you are, so get creative! Make sure you bring many members of your organization to the Reverse Career Fair, a table with two people beside it is not as attractive as a table with eight. Having a group of people shows that you’re a member of a team and that you work well with others to create an interesting and attractive outcome. Your display can say a lot about your group, but it also says a lot about who you are as individuals. Having a flashy, interesting display can make the difference at a Reverse Career Fair.

With preparation and a positive attitude, the Reverse Career Fair can be an incredible opportunity for students, especially for students who are nervous when it comes to networking. A well-prepared resume, a 30-second commercial, and a well-crafted display can make all the difference in a Reverse Career Fair.

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