Employment Guide: Career fair benefits all students

By Marissa Meredyth

Just because there don’t seem to be many jobs doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be looking for… Just because there don’t seem to be many jobs doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be looking for one.

Student Employment and Placement Assistance is organizing this year’s Spring Career Fair, which will run from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Feb. 8 and 9 in the William Pitt Union.

The first day is dedicated to technical majors such as engineering, computer and information sciences, while the second is for those with majors in business, art, science or health science.

Cheryl Finlay, director of SEPA, said all students should consider attending, regardless of whether they think it might be too early to look for employment.

“No matter what a student’s major is, career fairs are great networking opportunities and great opportunities to get experience having a professional conversation with a recruiter,” Finlay said.

As of Friday, 163 employers were registered to participate, Finlay said. The number of full- or part-time jobs and internships available will vary by company.

“Many students have received job offers after attending a job fair,” she added.

Senior Carly Havyer, an industrial engineering major, said she has been to the engineering fair a few times and Pitt’s big career fair once.

“I thought they were really overwhelming at first,” Havyer said. “But after doing a few awkward rounds, I manned up and went to actually talk to people.”

Havyer found the experience helpful, and got one co-op offer after attending.

“I was more successful with the engineering ones because they had co-ops, where the big fair had internships,” said Hayver, who ended up accepting a a different co-op than the one she received from the career fair.

Other students found the event less helpful.

Senior marketing major Brayden Bastoni said he attended a Pitt career fair in Fall 2009.

“I think they’re a waste of time,” Bastoni said. “All [recruiters] ever tell me is to just go apply on their website.”

Finlay said that it is still important to attend.

“Students should keep in mind that many of the employers will be screening students at the fair for potential interviews the following day,” she said.

It is also important for students planning on attending to do their homework in advance.

“Students should prepare for the fair by researching the organization beforehand and posing questions to the employers,” Finlay said.

If students attend, they should wear professional attire and bring plenty of resumés. The Career Development Office will hold a Career Kickoff for those who need help preparing.

Jacob Brett, a senior politics and philosophy major, said he plans to attend this year’s fair.

“I just need a job,” Brett said. “I will talk to anyone who lets me do policy research.”

For those who are not seniors, Finlay suggested attending solely for the experience.

“Underclassmen should attend to develop their networking skills and gain experience having a professional conversation with a recruiter,” she said.

Havyer said there were also other benefits.

“The free stuff is great,” she said.