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Resume in hand, students fill the Recreation Center, awaiting to speak to one of the 200 employers.
Every fall, winter and spring quarter, Cal Poly Career Services hosts the career fair, which attracts over 3,000 students each quarter. Many students who attend the career fair are engineering and business administration majors, Director of Career Services Martin Shibata said. According to the 2014 Winter Career Fair analytics, 159 aerospace engineers, 487 mechanical engineers, 191 industrial engineers and 461 business administration majors were present.
“This is a college-wide event; however, there are a high percentage of students who come from the colleges of engineering and business due to the fact that a high majority of employers are seeking graduates and students from these disciplines,” Shibata said. “But there are opportunities for all colleges and majors.”
Though the fair may attract more engineering and business administration students, the career options extend to all Cal Poly students. At the 2014 Fall Career Fair, 375 career positions, 154 internship and co-op positions and four local part-time positions were offered by employers.
In an attempt to be more inclusive of other majors at the fair, Career Services has created two employer relations specialist positions through the Student Success Fee Initiative. This “job developer” position, as Shibata referred to it, will be held responsible for creating jobs for other majors, primarily for the College of Liberal Arts and the College of Science and Mathematics.
“We feel that liberal arts majors tend to get the short end of employers that come on campus, so we want to develop a relationship with them,” Shibata said. “We see this difference, and that’s why we are using the money to try to engage and incorporate other majors more.”
Fifty-seven employers conduct a total of 430 student interviews from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. during the initial networking session. If employers are interested during the fair, they can invite students to an interview in the afternoon. For the pre-scheduled interviews, 25 employers came back and interviewed 197 students for both days.
To become better acquainted with these employers, students should refer to MustangJOBS and to look to see which employers are going to be conducting interviews, Career Services Events Coordinator Soukita Thipsouvanh said.
“I recommend that students attend the Making the Most of Career Fair workshop on January 13 or January 15 to prepare for the event,” Thipsouvanh said. “During this workshop a career counselor will present a little about the fair and how to approach an employer.”
Shibata agreed that students should come prepared to speak with employers.
“What you can do to prepare would be to practice what I call a two-minute elevator speech because a lot of times you will only have two minutes to sell yourself,” Shibata said. “So if you have already thought out what it is you want to communicate to the employers, you put yourself in a better position.”
Seventeen percent of students from the 2014 graduating class were successful in receiving jobs, according to the Graduate Status Report, as a result of Career Services, Career Fairs and MustangJOBS, Shibata said.
Industrial engineering junior Samantha Kin was part of this 17 percent. At the 2014 Fall Career Fair and the Apple networking session, Kin got offered a Summer 2015 through Fall 2015 co-op with Apple.
“I just went up to Apple and started telling them about my experience from my previous internship at Tesla,” said Kin. “Instead of just reciting my resume, I tried to chronologically walk them through my process of line balancing and cost saving and tell them what I did in terms of working in groups and overcoming issues.”
The Winter Career Fair is on Wednesday, Jan. 21, and Thursday, Jan. 22.