In today’s digital world, most people turn to the internet to find a job. It’s as easy as type, click and submit. While technology has made it easier to find and apply for jobs, it has also created a competitive, cluttered and chaotic environment that makes it hard to stand out and even harder to break through. Although career fairs may seem like an outdated job search method, Sheila Vargas, a career development coordinator for Rosen College, says they still have a place in the modern job market and here’s why:

  1. You can interview the company before they interview you.

Sometimes, your impression of what it would be like to work at a particular company differs from reality, so going to a career fair is a golden opportunity to talk to employees, learn about the culture and ask questions about open positions. This insight can help you decide if that company is actually the right fit for you and will help you achieve your career goals.

  1. You get valuable face time with people who can directly impact the success of your application.

Quite often, the people staffing a career fair booth on behalf of a company are human resources or recruiting professionals. These individuals are the gatekeepers to the job you want. They get scores of e-mails every day, so meeting them in person is a rare chance to make a memorable impression and establish a connection that can eventually get you in the door.

  1. It’s a great chance to practice your interview skills.

Talking to company representatives at a career fair is similar to doing an initial screening for a job. No matter how experienced you are, there’s always room for improvement when it comes to interview skills, so take advantage of a unique situation – a room full of companies who want to talk to you and have the time.

  1. Lesser known organizations can build brand awareness and attract top talent.

Some companies are household names, but the vast majority don’t enjoy the same level of brand recognition, which makes it challenging to reach qualified job candidates. Career fairs are a valuable platform for employers to educate people about their organizations and increase brand awareness. If you’re new to the area and beginning your job search, it’s also a convenient way to learn about the local job market and research employers.

  1. You can follow up on the status of an online application.

If you’ve already applied to a position, but haven’t received a response or want to know the status of your application, you can inquire about it at a career fair. In some cases, company representatives may even offer to look up your application on the spot and provide feedback. At the very least, you can get an actual person’s contact information and follow up later via e-mail.

  1. Build connections now that can pay off later.

The company you’re interested in working for might not have any positions for you now, but circumstances change and weeks, months or even years down the road, something could become available. Remember to be patient because a connection you make at a career fair can pay off if you keep in touch and show genuine interest in the organization.

Rosen College’s Career and Experiential Learning Fair is on Thursday, Feb. 25 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the UCF Rosen College courtyard. Leading organizations from the hospitality and tourism industry visit the campus every semester to discuss full-time, part-time and internship opportunities with students majoring in hospitality management, restaurant management and event management. Rosen College students plan and execute the career fair as part of a class project, handling every aspect of the event, including the theme, decor, marketing, promotion and lunch menu.