On Wednesday, I attended the Madison Square Garden Career Fair. Some of the biggest names in sports like the NBA, the New Jersey Devils and the New York Redbulls were present along with the Madison Square Garden Company, CBS Radio and Burson-Marsteller. I was very excited to interact with representatives from these companies, as face-to-face communication is always going to trump emailing your resume.
About 350 of what appeared to be mostly recent college graduates assembled outside of the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey. As my cousin and I waited in line, you couldn’t help but size up the competition. I caught myself checking out what everyone was wearing and whose resume looked more professional. Once inside, all 350 of us were set free to move around to each organization’s table. Lines at popular places like the NBA formed quickly and you ended up waited on average 20 minutes to talk to their representatives.
Quickly the innocent career fair turned into a scene from the Hunger Games with people trying to cut lines and trash talk. Yes, I am not lying, this did happen! Through the crowds and chaos, I was determined to hand out some resumes and make personal connections with certain representatives. After a grueling four hours, here’s what I learned from the Career Fair Hunger Games:
1) Positivity is Key: After hearing that MSG did not have any entry level PR positions, I could have easily been discouraged. But instead, I smiled, got the representative’s business card and moved on. Yes, I wish they had a job opening but so what?! I had to meet other people and keep the smile on my face. I kept my spirits up by knowing I was making real connections with people that could help me in the future.
2) Face-to-Face Communication is King: Don’t get me wrong, I’m a big believer in the power of social media, but introducing yourself and your abilities in person will always be more beneficial. Representatives saw my confidence and my initial reaction to their questions. It was also easier to convey the passion I had working for my previous internship. I had one representative from the Devils actually tell me how good I was at speaking to new people. It pays off!
3) It’s Not About Everyone Else: It was easy to get caught up in what everyone was wearing or overhearing things other people were saying to representatives. But, after a few minutes inside, I quickly realized it was about ME, not everyone else. Who cares if the kid next to me had an internship with Major League Baseball?! It was about putting my best foot forward and showing how I was an asset to each company. It was initially very intimidating seeing 349 people going for the same position. But I had to focus on me in order to make a rockstar impression.
Has anyone else had a similar experience at a career fair? Let me know.