By Cheryl Toomey, University Relations Graduate Student
The fall 2013 Career Fair featured representatives from 59 different organizations that were available to talk with students about opportunities for career entry level positions, internships, summer and part-time positions, and graduate school.
“The career fair is a chance for students to meet and network with employers. Networking is how people land jobs, so you can talk to people at a career fair, find out what different companies do, give your resume to them, apply with them – those are the ways to network into jobs. Where else can students see this many employers in one spot?” says Jean Dake, Director of the UTC Career & Student Employment Center.
Competition in the job market makes it especially important for students to consider opportunities like the ones presented at the Career Fair.
“It’s a very competitive job market out there, even though it has improved over the past four or five years. Students are competing with candidates from all over the country, not just other UTC graduates, so whatever they can do to market themselves, whether it’s getting a good internship or a good part time job that relates to their field, will make them a better candidate,” says Dake.
Jannette Potts, a current student majoring in marketing, came to explore the job market before her upcoming graduation. “I came out today to see all the opportunities these firms are offering in the marketing field and in general. I’m trying to get a feel for what’s available before I jump into the real world.”
Potts explains the importance of attending career fairs, “I think it takes a lot of stress off of someone. You graduate and the next day you’re like, what do I do next? I’ve got to find a job. This gives you a head start on your future, looking at all the opportunities now rather than the day after you graduate.”
Hussnain Javid, a current chemical engineering major, came out to the career fair looking for possible internships and co-op opportunities. He talks about why it’s important to him to find an internship while he is still in school.
“This way you don’t have to wait when you get out of school. You’ve already built experience and you kind of have something planned. A lot of places are going to ask about your experience and you’ll already have it,” he said.
Beth Terry, an alumna with a Master of Accountancy degree, was checking out the job opportunities at the Career Fair.
“This gives you a good idea of what’s around this area. If you just did an online search for jobs, you might not find all these things. You also get to talk to a lot of people, and its good practice for a real interview at some point later. The more practice students can get doing this kind of thing, the more comfortable they will be doing it later on.”
Ali Robinette, a UTC alumna who majored in business management, found her current employer through a UTC Career Fair. She returned to campus as a representative promoting the company to potential new recruits.
“I went to one career fair right before I graduated. I actually found Enterprise through that. It helped me with an in, because as a student I wondered what I was going to do after I graduated and where I was going to go, so it was a great resource,” says Robinette, “The career fair is great because it gives you insight into what employers are looking for, who’s hiring, and what’s going on out there after you graduate. It’s all different businesses looking for all different major types, so it provides a lot for students from every background.”
The Career Fair isn’t just for people on the verge of graduation, however.
“Throughout their college career, students need to be networking with employers, finding out what kinds of jobs employers have, what kind of expectations employers have, and landing internships for jobs that relate to their field. They should do this all through their college career, and not wait until after graduation, because they may have missed a great opportunity,” says Dake.
The Career and Student Employment Center offers a variety of services throughout the year, such as resume help, mock interviews, and job postings. Explore their resources here.