September 23, 2014

WEISMAN | Career Fair Stole My Heart

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By SAMANTHA WEISMAN

On Tuesday and Wednesday of last week, companies flocked from all over the country to trade meaningless merchandise and flashy infographics for false hope and generic résumés. Like most communication majors and social science and humanity-related majors, I had great success at the Career Fair.

Beyond being a place where I could learn about potential jobs, the Career Fair really helped me hone my skills in several important areas. After experiencing the chaos of moving through the aisles, I now feel extremely equipped to push through large crowds of people without causing major injury. The only other times in my life I’ve experienced this madness were at ClubFest and Dunbar’s. However, I never wear business clothes to ClubFest or Dunbar’s, so now I know what it will be like to move through the crowded streets of New York City in short heels and a business suit.

Another skill I was able to develop was networking. I got to practice speaking to business executives with a goal in mind: free stuff. I trained myself to have the shortest, most efficient conversation possible in order to learn the least about the companies, but still seemed like I cared so that they would still offer me free K-cups or a highlighter. By the end of the fair, my conversations became so automatic that I blacked out, so I don’t even remember which companies I spoke to until I started using a new pen. The logos remind me of my new bullshitting skill and encourage me never to give up.

Perhaps my greatest success at the Career Fair was discovering a new dream career. When I got bored of having actual conversations with companies, I started just taking the free things without asking. After obtaining many bags full of free merchandise, I am confident that I would make an excellent thief. I was able to move between tables with ease, grabbing whatever exciting swag I laid my eyes on, and usually without the people at the tables noticing. I think at one point, I even became invisible. My new skill particularly came in handy on the Engineering and Technical Skills day, where I could not be less qualified for any of the jobs they were advertising. I still managed to snag a Google scarf, Google socks, a Hulu basketball hoop, headphones, T-shirts, Snapchat cupcakes, various iPhone chargers and several other useless, yet meaningful objects. I say meaningful because they remind me to persevere, and that when I feel like I have lost everything, I will still have my Ernst and Young tote bag.

Since thief applications on CCNet are closing soon, I already made an appointment at the Career Office to work on my new cover letter. If any thieving gangs are looking for a new recruit, please email me. I have references — and a fancy new Accenture backpack.

If you made it through my poor attempt at sarcasm and to this point in the column — first of all I am impressed — but second of all, maybe I actually do have a shot at getting a job. Writing is the most unique, highly coveted skills that employers were looking for at the fair, so I expect to be a shoo-in. Sorry, once I start with the sarcasm it’s hard to turn it off.

Clearly, I was not able to take the Career Fair seriously. This is not to say that people interested in business, consulting or big-name tech companies did not have great opportunities at the fair, but that people like me did not. While I do think it is important to be able to practice networking and learn about other opportunities, like many people, I was disappointed by the small range of companies and career options presented. I spoke to a few companies, but not as many as some of my friends with different aspirations, and I certainly would not call it a success for me — if you don’t count theft as success, that is.

Several of the jobs I am interested in — many television and media positions — only hire on an as-needed basis, so I understand why they cannot take resumes or recruit people for next year right now. However, I don’t see why there can’t be informational tables with fact and advice on jobs that are not recruiting yet, just to see what opportunities might be available and the best ways to obtain them.

I had a lot of fun running around the Career Fair eating free cupcakes and seeing what kind of cool stuff I could get, but no amount of plastic junk can replace a plan for the future or a job that I would actually enjoy. Okay, it would have to be a lot of plastic junk.

While I don’t think my job search is hopeless or that I have no future — because let’s be real, the offers from thieving gangs are about to roll in — it would be nice if Cornell offered me a bit more support. Until then, I’ll just be in my room wearing my Google socks, playing with my Hulu basketball hoop and writing cover letters for jobs that don’t even exist yet.

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