Andrew Epperson/ Mustang News

A Cal Poly degree is worth more than paid tuition and hours spent. The diploma is not simply a piece of paper stating completed requirements, it’s a representation to companies that this student learned by doing and is ready for the workforce.

During a student’s time at Cal Poly, many opportunities arise to assist in the job search. The most prominent of these are the career fairs hosted by Career Services. The Fall Career Fair on Wednesday, Oct. 7 and Thursday, Oct. 8 offers students the chance to meet, interview with and apply for jobs with various companies.

Cal Poly alumnus Tyler Pickett, who graduated in June with a degree in electrical engineering, took advantage of the career fairs.

“I received three out of my four job offers as a result of the fall and winter career fairs,” he said.

According to Katie McGuire, the event coordinator for Career Services, the career fair has typically seen 2,000 students a day in past years. This year that number is expected to increase to 3,500 a day. Registration is not required for students to attend, but it is recommended to RSVP through MustangJOBS.

“The purpose of the career fair is different for every student, depending on what their needs are,” McGuire said. “Our hope is that we can connect students and alumni to companies that they can work for or learn more about.”

Mechanical engineering senior Donald Wood landed his first internship thanks to the career fair, and Olin Olmstead, a recent Cal Poly graduate, earned his first job as a result of an internship he applied for during a career fair.

“There was only one interview and it was during the career fair,” Olmstead said. “It was for a software development position and focused on software design and modeling. A few weeks later they contacted me about the internship.”

Career Services is also actively working to improve and expand the variety and appeal of the companies attending the career fairs. Google, Apple, Oracle, Adobe and other big names are going to be in attendance this year, with Facebook coming to the table as well.

However, it is not only tech giants and Silicon Valley natives; local, government, nonprofit and industry-specific companies will also be in abundance.

“The reason most companies come is that they’ve hired a student before and seen how great they work,” McGuire said. “They’ve seen that they work harder, perform better and jump into the job quicker.”

Approximately 150 companies are expected to attend each day. While few companies attend both days, approximately 80 percent only attend one day. Companies connect with students after the event in many ways, such as contacting them through MustangJOBS or on-campus interviews. It is recommended to send thank-you notes to companies to gain traction and memorability.

This year’s Fall Career Fair is also implementing a new feature from MustangJOBS — “Notify My Top 10 Employers.”

“If you’re going through it you can designate your top 10 companies that fit in whatever categories you have,” McGuire said. “You can actually notify them that they are in your top 10, and that will send your resume towards them.”

In a previous version of this article, the quote of Olin Olmstead was attributed to the incorrect source. It has since been changed online.

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