Texas Tech University

Career Fair Perspectives: Chelsea Baucum

Chelsea Baucum is the Director of Recruiting and Employer Engagement in the Rawls Career Management Center and has participated in the Rawls Career Fair for 11 years.

Jacob Gordon | February 19, 2024

Held once every fall and spring semester, the Rawls Career Fair is an excellent opportunity for students seeking internships or hoping to start their careers after graduating. Each career fair is a confluence of varying goals and strategies for a successful career fair. Even the idea of what makes a career fair successful differs wildly between the groups.

As part of the lead-up to this semester's Rawls Career Fair - held on Wednesday, February 21, at the Lubbock Memorial Civic Center - we wanted to showcase the people from those different groups: a resume reviewer, a career fair organizer, an employer recruiter, and a Rawls College student. Each person was asked the exact same question, but their answers show just how different their approaches to the career fair are.

What does your work look like as you're preparing for the Rawls Career Fair?

I have a nice, detailed spreadsheet with deadline reminders to keep track of all the moving parts and when they need to be taken care of. Many items are simple emails that need to be sent, but some are the details, like planning the breakfast and lunch menus and choosing a location for the employer appreciation event that follows the career fair.

What is your day like during the Rawls Career Fair?

As the point of contact for the Rawls Career Fair, I like to be free and available wherever I am needed. In my eyes, if I have done my job well, things run smoothly, and there isn't much chaos to control. However, things do come up! We may have an employer show up that didn't register, so I need to work with Lone Star Decorating to find a place for them. We may have employers that want to get more involved with recruiting outside of the career fair, so I can meet with them and introduce them to various people in the Career Management Center. I try my hardest to prepare and plan every scenario I can think of that might go wrong ahead of time in the hopes of eliminating stress and anxiety on the day of the fair.

What is your goal for the Rawls Career Fair? What, to you, would make a successful day of the Rawls Career Fair?

To me, a successful career fair encourages employers to not only come back but also talk about how wonderful our fair is to other recruiters. I feel like the details of including a quiet space for employers to take a call instead of sitting out in the open public area and including first aid kits on the employer tables are small details that make the Rawls College of Business stand out. On the student side of success, my goal is to ensure students are attending the fair. I also want their experience to be as stress-free as possible. Again, details are important here. We added stanchions to create "lines," so students know where to go to check-in. There are so many steps students have to take when they check in that it can be overwhelming if they don't know what to expect.

What is your favorite part of the Rawls Career Fair?

Seeing contacts I have known in my 10 years of being in the CMC. I love getting to catch up with employers I haven't seen in months, sometimes years! I also love getting to see former Rawls students that are now on the "other side" of recruiting. It is such a fun time to reconnect and see where everyone is and how this event changed someone's future.

What does your work look like after the Rawls Career Fair?

I try to give myself one or two days to process the event, send a survey to employers, and write ideas or reminders down. My checklist of taking care of things for the next career fair usually begins the next week! As soon as a career fair is over, I begin planning the next one.

What advice would you give to a student going to the Rawls Career Fair for the first time?

Be sure and prepare ahead of time. The CMC has several opportunities to help you prepare for the career fair. Take it all in! If you are a first-year or sophomore, take advantage of this time to see what the career fair looks like without having to schedule interviews or worry about talking to people. Now is the time to get some nerves out and process what the event looks like. This way, when you are a junior or senior and need that internship or full-time job, you are focused on who you are going to talk to instead of feeling overwhelmed by the event. Lastly, check your emails from the CMC. We send a five-part series of emails that provide tips and information on preparing for the career fair.