My first experience at a career fair

Hello and welcome! My name is Jaden and I’m a third-year student here at UMass Lowell. I’m majoring in English with a concentration in Journalism and Professional Writing.

Currently, I’m an intern for the University’s Career & Co-op Center. The center has tons of great career, internship, and co-op resources for students so I will be blogging about my own experiences using those resources.

On November 12, I did something I was afraid of. I attended the Career and Co-op Center’s virtual Public Service Career Fair and met with recruiters individually to discuss technical writing opportunities. Usually, I’m not the type of person to go up to people and introduce myself first so networking can feel unnatural for me. Yet attending career fairs and talking to recruiters has been a big help. I decided to write about my experience at the career fair because it can be hard to know what to expect if you haven’t been to one before, especially with the virtual component.

A few days before the fair, I registered for it on Handshake. It’s super easy and only takes a few seconds. That said, it’s important to not register last minute because you can only sign up for group or individual meetings with recruiters after registering! Individual meeting spots get filled quickly.

The first session I signed up for was an individual session with the Massachusetts Office of the State Treasurer and Receiver General. It focuses on state cash flow and debt, so I thought it might include grant or proposal writing. I asked if any of their work included technical writing and the recruiter had lots of suggestions. She said I might be a good fit for an executive office internship. She also mentioned I might do well in the communications department in the economic empowerment section. This section creates programs and projects for the public to encourage new clients to set up investment accounts, such as a 529 college fund. Another department the recruiter suggested for me was the Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission since they often use written reports in their work.

Next, I met with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Unfortunately, the recruiter I spoke with said the organization didn’t have any internship or entry-level work that included technical writing. He said that only higher-level analyst positions included technical writing work. Entry-level positions focused on auditing or customer service. This was a little disappointing, but I wasn’t surprised since the IRS is a more math-based kind of organization.

Even though the IRS didn’t work out, I’m glad I went to the career fair. It gave me a chance to get used to meeting with recruiters and I feel like I can introduce myself first now! Despite how intimidating recruiters may seem, they’re very friendly. I’m also happy that I got the chance to learn about different companies so I can determine what kinds of organizations are an option for me.