For Theresa Edgerton, Union’s College’s Career Center Coordinator, a career fair is about surveying options. “Sometimes you find something that sounds more interesting than what you first thought once you take a closer look,” said Edgerton, who put together today’s campus wide career fair. “God works in so many ways—career fairs can be a way He shows you options.”
Union Career Fair 2012
The Union College Career and Graduate School Fair will feature 18 organizations and seven graduate schools and convene Wednesday, October 24, from 2-4 p.m. in Woods Auditorium.
The event, hosted by the Career Center, will feature representatives from the Lincoln area and across the United States, including Loma Linda University, the University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC) Biomedical Training Program, Adventist Health, the National Parks Service, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and many more.
“Planning a large-scale event like this is a fun challenge,” said Edgerton. “It is great to develop relationships with the representatives who visit us. I enjoy having community members on our campus to see how great Union and its students are. I believe these events are a positive way for Union’s name to be spread across the country as a place where organizations can find quality people to do great work.”
All students are invited to attend the fair, which can lead to a career path or even a job. “Students should come to look for internships, full time jobs, part time jobs, summer employment and to get experience talking with professional adults in a professional setting, rather than only with parents, professors or friends,” said Edgerton. “It’s good preparation to start thinking about what students will do after they graduate and it’s helpful to get an idea of what types of opportunities exist in different fields.”
While some occupations do require specific undergraduate degrees, students should not be afraid to branch out and explore career options in other areas. “Any major prepares most students for most jobs,” claimed Donald Asher, writer and speaker on higher education, in an article featured on MSN in 2008. “[Recruiters] are interested in a certain type of eager, presentable young person, and not too worried about specialized knowledge. An articulate art major with clear goals is preferred over the business major without a clue.”
More important than learning specific information in college is that students gain experience in presenting themselves to peers and employers. “There's a platitude among corporate recruiters: ‘Hire for attitude, train for skills,’” said Asher. “Internships are far more important than a specific major. It also helps to have the right internships while still in college. Internships are a critical component for translating a college education into employability.”
“If you really strip it down, people go to college to get a ‘better’ job,” said Edgerton. “Union delivers so much more than that, but at the end of the day when you graduate, you still have to ‘do’ something. The Career and Graduate School Fair is important for students to reinforce the idea that there is something for them after they graduate from college. Sometimes interactions made at events like this can come back later in your career as a network contact or simply an idea of something else you want to try. Plus, there is free popcorn…”
The Career Center outlines five tips for students to consider when approaching recruiters and potential employers at a career fair.
1. Learn who is coming ahead of time. Plan to meet with people who you are really interested in. Speak to as many representatives as possible and learn about new companies and what they can offer you.
2. Prepare a 45-second summary of your qualifications. Use a name badge with your name, major and year of graduation. Introduce yourself in a positive and confident manner. Smile, project enthusiasm and offer a firm handshake. Your summary should be on your background, achievements and career interests.
3. Dress the part. If you do plan to interview this year and want to make an impression while asking about specific professions or companies, dress professionally. If you don’t plan to interview this year but want career information, come as you are; business casual is acceptable. DON'T be shy about approaching company representatives. They are here to talk to YOU!
4. Take the right things with you. Take along a supply of resumes. Collect business cards and employer information.
5. Know what you are going to ask. Try to have one or two questions in mind for each employer. The questions should reflect the research you have done on the employer and your interest. Sample questions include:
- What courses or course of study do I need to better prepare for a position in your organization?
- Do you offer internships and if so, in what areas (or what types)?
- In the next four or five years, what do you foresee as being trends or changes in your field?
The Career Center has handouts available with a list of questions to use for your job search or career planning as you meet with potential employers.
The Career Center assists students with creating resumes and cover letters, career coaching and counseling, career tests and assessments, interview tips and conversations with professionals. For more information go to www.ucollege.edu/career-center.