At upcoming career fairs, it's never too early to search for dream job

If you walk into the University Center over the next two weeks in your usual campus clothing, you may feel out of place amongst an exceptionally well-dressed crowd, the likes of which are rarely seen on campus outside of the Tepper School of Business. It’s that time of year again: various companies are coming to campus for the Business Opportunities Conference (BOC) and Technical Opportunities Conference (TOC). The BOC will take place on Sept. 12 from 1–4 p.m. in Wiegand Gym while the TOC will take place from Sept. 15–17 between the hours of 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. each day in the gym.

If you’re an underclassman, chances are that you’re not going to the career fairs. Perhaps, you intended to go, but are now having second thoughts, given the number of jobs that go to upperclassmen.

On the other hand, you may be going, but mainly for the swag — free stuff, for the uninitiated. Here are some better reasons to go to the upcoming fairs as an underclassman.

Nothing to lose

Take a moment to sit back and think about your dream job. I bet there will be at least one company at the BOC and TOC where you can get that job, or do something related that’s equally exciting.

This semester’s fairs are two of a select number of events at which you’ll have absolutely nothing to lose by talking to recruiters. Your passion may even impress them enough to land you that dream summer job! You’ll never know if you don’t take the plunge.

Preparation for next fairs

If you’re firmly convinced that there’s no way that the company of your choice will hire a first-year or sophomore, here’s a more practical reason to go to the career fairs.

Going to the fairs this year is good preparation for your following years at Carnegie Mellon.

Attending this semester will allow you to feel what it’s like, so that you know what to expect as an upperclassman. Simply walk up to the company that you’re eyeing for a job in the future, and chat with the recruiter.

Ask about the company’s required qualifications and interview process, so that you know what they’re looking for and can be better prepared for the following year, when you’re in the running for a job there.

Small booths hold much opportunity

While you’re at it, check out some of the smaller booths that none of the upperclassmen are going to. Chatting with the recruiters there is less stressful — sometimes even fun — and can definitely boost your confidence.

And remember, they’re hiring too. So if they offer any opportunities you’re interested in, go for it! The odds of getting that job are substantially higher and the company probably pays more than traditional summer employers.

So, hunt out your nicest formal clothes and be prepared to join the crowd of well-dressed students at the upcoming career fairs. Draft a quick résumé — or update an existing one you have — and print out a few dozen copies. Make a name tag, be sure to dress nicely, and get ready to go!