I Attended the Career Fair, but I Still Have to Apply Online?

Posted: January 27, 2020

Today's guest blog features Cheryl Verbeke, Digital Technology Manager and Ohio State Recruiter for Caterpillar.

You just spent several hours visiting with company representatives at the career fair. You are really interested in a few of them, but they asked you to apply online before moving forward with the recruiting process. You are confused because you gave them your resume and maybe even filled out some personal information on a tablet. You are thinking, I have classwork to do why do I need to apply online?

Why companies require you to apply online.

There are multiple reasons companies require students to apply online. The main purpose of job application is to capture all necessary information to be able to evaluate a candidate for a specific job posting. Using online application systems allow companies to quickly gather data in the same format for each applicant. This is particularly helpful when there are hundreds of applicants posting for the same job. For a lot of companies, this is what happens with their intern and college hire job postings. They need a quick and easy way to manage and review these applications.

The online applications also cover some legal requirements including confirmation that all the statements and information the applicant submitted are true. It also ensures that the potential candidate read and understands certain policies and procedures of the employer that are spelled out in the employment application. This might include statements around data privacy, at-will employment, and equal opportunity statements. For companies that do business with the US government, there may be additional information requested around veteran or disability status. Submitting an online application may also give you a better understanding of the hiring process at a company such as background checks, employment verification, and drug tests.  

Then why do I attend the career fair?

You may think, I’ll just apply online and skip the career fair. However, there are several benefits to attending the career fair. This starts with learning about the jobs in the industry you are interested in and what companies hire for those jobs. You will get to learn more about a company and its culture directly from people that work there than you will find online. In addition, you may also learn about other potential jobs at that company that might be a good fit for you and your background. Finally, the connections you build with the company’s representatives during a career fair are critical when they are reviewing hundreds of applicants and deciding who to interview. 

In addition to learning more about different companies and job openings, career fairs offer you an opportunity to practice and develop your professional skills. This starts with learning how to network and practice your elevator speech. In many cases, you may get feedback on your resume that you can update before applying online. Also be sure to take advantage of any networking events or workshops associated with a career as they are additional opportunities to develop your skills. 

Does it take time to attend career fairs and apply online, the answer is yes. Hopefully now you understand why both are a key part of finding a job a career that is a good fit for both you and your employer. Good Luck!

"Hiring the right people takes time, the right questions, and a healthy dose of curiosity.”  - Richard Branson

ECS is proud to collaborate with Caterpillar as part of our ECS Partner Program.