Today, for me, was overshadowed by the anxiety of my oral presentation. Regardless, I got to check off some things from my checklist - got a professional head shot taken, got critiques on my resume, some tips on writing a cover letter, and insight into the mind of a recruiter in the industry.
Because my talk was in the multiferroics session, I also got to attend some amazing talks by research leaders in this field. I learned about characterization techniques, fundamental theories and future work in the field that I had previously no idea about.
So you can say I got to experience the best of both worlds. I got excellent professional advice, and some excellent research exposure. Having said that, I cannot stress enough the importance of taking advantage of the career fair, especially if you are almost done with your degree and are looking for a job in the industry (if you are looking for a postdoc though, you might benefit more from interacting with the presenters of the technical talks). I have wondered about questions like "should I apply for a job I only have 50% of the skills they are looking for" or "is it okay to put my degree on the second page of my resume" - and I got all the answers today.
In addition, in the age of social media, we all know how important a LinkedIn profile is. I have scoured through hundreds of my photos in the past to find one that is appropriate for LinkedIn, and still wasn't able to find a professional one. The photographer taking the head shots in the career fair is so sincere she takes multiple takes and then allows you to pick the best one - and it's all for free.
My point is, take some time out to really take advantage of the career fair. These are services that are rarely available in a research environment.