Naba Ahmed & Brendan Abrams
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Spring Career Fair may seem like the last chance for students to meet with employers on campus with summer approaching.
According to Director of Career Services Martin Shibata, Spring Career Fair tends to represent smaller companies with a broader base for students they hope to employ.
“It has a calmer environment where students can explore and engage with employers easier,” Shibata said.
As for seniors, this career fair could have the jobs they want to ensure before graduation, he said.
“Sometimes, there are late work orders or a company got a big contract recently and those positions need to be filled,” Shibata said.
Despite this being the last Career Services-sponsored event with recruiting employers on campus, this is not the last chance for students to interact with future employers, Assistant Director of Career Services Charlotte Rinaldi said.
Career Services is launching the first Startup Career Fair on April 15 and the first spring Senior Career Symposium on April 24.
As for the Startup Career Fair, Cal Poly students will have the chance to mingle with representatives from California startup companies for the first time.
The event, hosted by Cal Poly Entrepreneurs, the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE) and Cal Poly Career Services, promises to put a fresh spin on the search for workplace experience while giving startups valuable exposure to a crop of potential employees.
Startups look to hire the best and brightest — just like large corporations — but often their specific needs are different. Working at a startup requires a level of intellectual flexibility that might not be as necessary for the typical employee at a large corporation.
Danielle Epstein, employer development specialist at Career Services, who worked at multiple startups in her own career, has experienced this phenomenon firsthand.
“It’s very creative, and it’s energizing for students to work in that kind of environment,” Epstein said.
This is good news for students with a liberal arts background and for technical-minded students who hope to enter an innovative workplace.
Chelsea Brown, manager of student innovation programs at the CIE, voiced a similar sentiment about working at a startup.
“Often it is very rewarding, not only in terms of pay but also in the learning experience,” she said.
Unlike the process at many larger companies, which tend to work like well-oiled machines, with cut-and-dry roles for employees, you’re encouraged to solve problems on your own, Brown said.
At the Startup Career Fair, students are likely to undergo an exciting experience usually not afforded by other career fairs.
“You might have the chance to interact with a founder, so it’s a different type of opportunity to inform your own decision,” Epstein said.
That brings with it a responsibility on the part of students to present themselves well.
“Startups are really looking for a passion behind the company’s mission,” Brown said.
Along with the Startup Career Fair, Career Services is hosting the Senior Career Symposium, specifically targeted to graduating seniors.
After a needs assessment was conducted about what is important to students, what they need and what would most benefit them, Career Services decided that spring was a more logical time to launch the symposium, Rinaldi said.
The symposium will consist of a keynote speaker, an employer panel and two workshop tracks, College of Liberal Arts Career Counselor Laura Hunkler said. It will be a daylong conference- style event.
“We are going to have two tracks of workshops. One will be for students in the stages of looking for a job and the other for students who already have a job,” Hunkler said.
For students still on the job hunt, there will be workshops that cover interviewing, resume review and how to get a job. Those who are employed will have workshops with topics like professional brand, salary negotiations and planning your financial future.
Senior International Program Manager at Mindbody Michael Leibovich, also a Cal Poly alum, will be the keynote speaker.
“He’s going to talk about his career path and encourage students to trust themselves,” Rinaldi said. “He will have an inspirational and motivational message for students.”
The Senior Symposium is set to take place on the lawn of Student Services (building 124) at 9:30 a.m. on April 24, while the Startup Career Fair will take place on April 15 at 10 a.m. in the Advanced Technology Lab (building 7).
Correction: A previous version of this article said Career Services is launching the first Startup Career Fair on April 16, when in fact it is on April 15.