After a safe four years or more of a structured routine, graduation and stepping out into the real world can be extremely unsettling. Students put in a lot of effort at Cal Poly and are driven to succeed. Because of their hard work, companies who are recruiting for jobs recognize and seek out Cal Poly students.
Events coordinator at Cal Poly Career Services Soukita Thipsouvanh said 156 companies will be attending the Winter Career Fair with 303 potential job positions.
“With the reputation of Cal Poly and our students, recruiters come back,” Thipsouvanh said.
When taken advantage of, the fair can serve as a bridge to walk into the real world. Students can search Mustang Jobs through their portal and companies that will be attending the career fair are listed. This gives students the opportunity to be prepared for who they wish to make contact with, and if there aren’t opportunities for them, to find another path.
“We encourage students to RSVP and submit their résumés in advance,” Thipsouvanh said.
There is some suspicion around the Cal Poly campus that not all majors are represented equally at the career fair. Some liberal arts students feel there are not many contacts for them to pursue, while engineering and science majors are more targeted. However, Thipsouvanh said the career fair has positions from accounting to English to math and science.
“Most companies do seek us out, but we do some outreach during the summer for more unrepresented majors,” Thipsouvanh said.
Communication studies senior Nikki Tobia said she has never gone to the career fair because she already has a job when she graduates. Tobia said the career fair does not have many contacts for event planning companies, which is her interest.
Tobia took the internship class offered and “got more connections that way than through the (career) fair.”
According to Thipsouvanh, however, communication studies majors do have 27 positions open at this quarter’s career fair in marketing, writing or editing.
Liberal studies senior Alyssa St. John has never been to the career fair.
“It’s not really for liberal studies,” she said. “When you go into teaching, it’s your only option … You just go on to get the credentials, then student teach.”
St. John said teaching jobs are posted on government websites, which means she does not get to make any contacts the career fair could provide.
Philosophy junior Alex Le Brun was also concerned about the usefulness of the career fair.
“Philosophy is such a niche market that it would be hard to network,” Le Brun said. “Pretty much all philosophy jobs involve teaching at the university level and publishing works, and you need a Ph.D for that. It turns out that the only surefire way to snag a job is to go to a really good graduate school.”
The assumption that some majors are not represented at the career fair may be hindering these students from stepping out and attending. Students may be able to find more networks than they think, however.
It seems that students do have other bridges to find jobs beside the career fair, though. While some students take advantage of it, other proactive students are using internship classes, government websites, college advisors, or are persisting on the path to graduate school.