Some students outside the Farmer School of Business may feel that career fair is not for them.
“I think they misunderstand that it is open to all majors and that all kinds of employers are going to be there,” Jennifer McLaughlin, assistant director of career services, said.
Miami University’s Career Services held an information session Sept. 16 to help students in the College of Arts and Science prepare for career fair. Students from each of the university’s schools attended the session.
“We try to emphasize certain parts of the orientation that arts and science majors may not know,” McLaughlin said.
She said in the past some arts and science majors would approach an employer at career fair, introduce themselves, state their major and then wait for the employer to tell them what jobs might be available for them.
McLaughlin said a better approach for arts and science students to take is to know what positions are available and tell the employer what they can offer their company or organization and how their skills relate to the company’s needs.
“Some recruiters are going to be extremely friendly,” McLaughlin said. “Others will stare at you and expect you to talk for a few minutes and convince them.”
McLaughlin said going into career fair, “arts and science majors often don’t feel as confident as business majors.”
Rocco Manzo, a Markley executive visiting professor in the management department said all majors could convince a recruiter to give them a chance.
“If I saw the right candidate with the right skills and background, I would be interested in a variety of majors,” Manzo said.
Just because a company lists specific majors they are looking for does not mean they would not consider other majors, Manzo said.
“There are a lot of companies (at career fair) that will fit arts and science majors,” he said.
McLaughlin said students should keep checking the Career Services website to see which employers are coming as companies continue to sign up right up to the day of the event.
Manzo said he urges students not to take career service at Miami for granted.
“Use their website,” he said. “Use their resources.”
McLaughlin said arts and science students can have success at career fair if they come prepared.
This includes researching the companies ahead of time, picking four to five top choice companies as well as some back-ups and knowing their own personal career goals and skills.
The best time to come to avoid the crowd is the first hour and the last hour of the fair, McLaughlin said. Career fair will likely be most crowded between 3 and 5 p.m.
She said students should dress conservatively and formally, not business casual. McLaughlin said khaki pants are not professional enough and men should wear suits and ties.
McLaughlin said students should bring several copies of their resume as well as a notepad and pen to make notes about good conversations they may have. Students should also ask for a business card and write a thank you note to follow up, including an additional copy of the student’s resume.
“I think the biggest thing to get across is you need to differentiate yourself,” Manzo said.
He said when he looks for job candidates at these types of events, he uses a code to mark the resumes of candidates who make the best impressions.
“Getting that first connection is important,” he said.
Senior diplomacy and foreign affairs major Elizabeth Bersin attended the information session. She found it helpful to know she could look up employers and positions ahead of time to see what she is qualified for.
“Now I know government and nonprofits are going to be there and that’s really what I’m looking for,” Bersin said.