Understanding Industry Career Fairs

By: Annie

Last week, I attended two jobs fairs specifically for the advertising industry. These were a little different than a typical fair, such as the U of M Job and Internship Fair. The structures of these fairs were more involved than just going from employer booth to employer booth. Each day included keynote speakers from executives in the industry, panels on different topics, and portfolio critiques for students interested in the creative side of advertising.

My first fair was the Mosaic Career Fair sponsored by the American Advertising Federation (AAF) and Leo Burnett at DePaul University in Chicago, Illinois. Right away I noticed the creative freedom in dress. Students were still professional and properly clothed but in more colors, flashier jewelry, and trendier heels than what you could expect at fairs in other industries. This change in style of dress did not mean it was a more relaxed atmosphere. In fact, it being an industry-specific fair meant the students who attended were very focused on their career ambitions.

The second fair I attended was the Chicago Advertising Federation’s Career Day. This fair was slightly more formal than the first. Students had choices for which panels they wanted to attend, there were assigned tables for a networking lunch, and several agencies presented about their firm, what they do, and why.

CAF Collage

As a member of UMD’s Advertising and Marketing Club, I received a student membership to AAF. Through their emails, I learned about these fairs. If you are a member of any professional organization, check to see if they host any career fairs geared toward your industry of interest. Even if you are not a member, you may still be able to attend (AAF charged a small fee for non-members).

The biggest benefit of attending these industry-specific fairs was the amount I learned about the advertising industry and the agencies within it. Also, I was able to network with employers, learn about opportunities, and make connections. Getting into any industry can be very competitive. Familiarizing yourself with the culture, the people, the companies, and their work to help you build relationships and stand out to employers.

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Photo Source: Chicago Advertising Federation

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