Three times a year, hundreds of companies flood the Recreation Center at Cal Poly to hire some of the brightest minds in California.
While some companies may exclusively be looking to hire juniors and seniors, many are still interested in speaking with students of all ages. This is where freshmen and sophomores can build connections and get internships.
“Anytime you have the opportunity to interact in person with employers, you want to take advantage of that because you are not just a resume in a database,” college specialist career counselor for Career Services Tammy Martin said in an email to Mustang News.
According to the 2013-14 Graduate Status Report (GSR) on Cal Poly’s website, 98 percent of Cal Poly graduates are employed or enrolled in graduate school within nine months of graduation. The report states that 29 percent of those students were hired through Cal Poly’s Career Services.
Going to a career fair and asking representatives questions is a great way to connect with companies and see potential career paths that are available after graduating from Cal Poly.
“Whether an employer is at the career fair or any of our other employer events, it means they see the value of a Cal Poly degree,” Martin said. “Take advantage of the connections we’ve facilitated for you.”
Just by showing a combination of your academic strengths and personality, you can expand your professional network. These new connections can help you get a job, but most importantly build your credibility with the amount of positive references you receive.
“You get to express interest and enthusiasm in person and that can go a long way in the selection process,” Martin said. “The ability to communicate well with others is important to employers and they get to assess that in their interactions with students.”
The GSR also states that 9 percent of Cal Poly graduates got their career from an internship they participated in during their undergraduate tenure.
“In internships, students get to assess if the company and work are a good fit for them, and the company gets to assess if the student is a good fit,” Martin said. “If both the employer and student feel it’s a good fit, internships can lead to an offer.”
With the increase in qualifications in today’s job market, it is key for students to gain an advantage for employment opportunities. With an internship, students get out of a classroom mindset and into a professional/corporate setting. Here they can apply the knowledge they have acquired in months of lecture, and contribute unique ideas to evolving technologies.
Though students may not necessarily be looking for an internship right now, it doesn’t mean talking to a potential employer is a waste of time.
According to Martin, if you are having problems deciding who you want to talk to at the career fair, there is a list of attendees online at Mustang JOBS. There, you can find out about dates and times for events hosted by a particular company.
“It can be challenging to talk with employers about things other than the openings they are trying to fill, but it is worth a try,” Martin said.
With classes now in session, most students are busy trying to keep up with the fast pace of the quarter system. If you are one of those students who is putting in the recommended 25-35 hours of studying per week, you may have entirely forgotten about this event. However, no matter what type of student you are, there is certainly something beneficial at the career fair.