Photo by Katherine Rountree

Once a year, the Savannah International Trade Convention Center bustles with students carrying stacks of portfolios, resumes and leave-behinds in hopes of landing their dream internship or job. This year, the highly anticipated career fair will be held on Feb. 27. While the seniors and graduate students are given first priority, the first- and second-year students are only admitted in the afternoon.

Students are encouraged to volunteer at the career fair. Their jobs vary from pointing out directions to fetching water for recruiters to even handling a booth. The first-year students are not assigned to a booth right away; that privilege is for the second-years.

Surai DeJesus, a fourth-year advertising major from Chicago, is all too familiar with the flow. She spent her first year navigating traffic at the career fair. However, when she went back the second time around, she was assigned to help the recruiters of R/GA, an award-winning advertising agency.

“I held one of their iPads and went around showing people the R/GA website because some people didn’t even know what they were walking up to,” said DeJesus. “I was also answering questions. If they wanted an interview, I would hand out the slip and give them the time slots so that they could come back at that time.”

Naomi Crumpley, a third-year fashion design major from Washington, D.C., worked closely with representatives from the Sears Holding Company. “I got [them] lunches and waters and anything they could possibly need.”

Between ushering students and attending to the recruiter’s every need, both Crumpley and DeJesus had the privilege of watching the exchange that went on between employer and potential employee. “I thought it was really beneficial because you kind of see how they fail or succeed at it,” said DeJesus.

To other students, standing next to a booth for hours might not seem like the ideal way to go about the career fair, but it gave Crumpley and DeJesus the insights few others had. Even when the student had walked away from the booth, the recruiters were still evaluating their work.

“I learned first-hand what companies typically look for at the career fair. Most companies are impressed by what SCAD students have to offer and the manner in which we present our work,” added Crumpley.

While Crumpley and DeJesus didn’t really have the chance to explore and network during the career fair, they were still able to make connections with their recruiters.

“I got to connect with them with LinkedIn,” said DeJesus. “And they gave me preliminary portfolio advice even though, as a sophomore, my portfolio wasn’t ready. But they [still] looked at it when they had some free time in between.”

With just a month left before career fair, Crumpley and DeJesus encourage students to volunteer. Even though a student may be tasked with handing out water bottles and interview time slots, Crumpley said volunteers still have a shot of networking.

“An atmosphere like that is impossible to avoid so it’s very easy to find the right opportunity for you,” said Crumpley.