Collage of careers featured at fair

Claire Young

Making connections is important for college students. Attending career fairs can help students gain access to employers and internship opportunities in their respective fields. The STEM career fair, held on Oct. 13, was combined with the major fall career fair this year, which brought employers from a variety of fields.

Students interested in the medical field have a chance to ask questions about employment opportunities offered within the fair.  Lisa Rajigah/The Signpost
Students interested in the medical field have a chance to ask questions about employment opportunities offered within the fair. (Lisa Rajigah/The Signpost)

Weber State University hosts at least four career and internship fairs each year, including two large fairs in the fall and spring with smaller ones scattered in between.

This year, career services decided to make this a hybrid event, with an in-person session in the morning and a virtual session in the afternoon. Some employers attended only one session exclusively, while others participated in both. The virtual session allowed for students off-campus and employers who were out of the area to be involved as well.

Students visit with human resource representatives within industries that are related to STEM. (Lisa Rajigah/The Signpost)
Students visit with human resource representatives within industries that are related to STEM. (Lisa Rajigah/The Signpost)

Kimberly Ealy, a career advisor at WSU’s College of Engineering, Applied Science and Technology, said it is important for students to prepare ahead of time before attending a career or internship fair. Knowing before-hand which companies will be there, what they do and what they are hiring for allows students to feel more prepared and confident when approaching recruiters.

STEM industry representatives prepare their information tables for students seeking employment in STEM. (Lisa Rajigah/The Signpost)
STEM industry representatives prepare their information tables for students seeking employment in STEM. (Lisa Rajigah/The Signpost)

“A lot of the discomfort that students have regarding career fairs comes from not knowing who to talk to, what to say, how to approach them, what questions to ask, how to present themselves, etc.,” Ealy said. “When you do some research before coming to the fair, the conversation between you and those recruiters has more depth and is more productive.”

Teachers, department and major advisors and career counselors are valuable resources who can provide students with information about the various companies and how to start a productive conversation with them.

STEM employer Chris Oneida shares employment information with Business Management Sophomore Sopuia Muirllead. (Lisa Rajigah/The Signpost)
STEM employer Chris Oneida shares employment information with Business Management Sophomore Sopuia Muirllead. (Lisa Rajigah/The Signpost)

“I tried to find out which companies were coming to the fair and did a little bit of research on the ones that interested me,” Harlee Lewis, a student at Weber State, said. This helped me know who to talk to so that I didn’t feel so lost and nervous.”

This event was an opportunity for students to expand their network.

Students ask STEM industry representatives questions regarding employment opportunities (Lisa Rajigah/The Signpost)
Students ask STEM industry representatives questions regarding employment opportunities. (Lisa Rajigah/The Signpost)

“If you try to find positions without networking, you are basically a one-dimensional electronic document that somebody will, hopefully, see,” Ealy said. “If an employer meets you in-person or somebody in the company already knows a little bit about you, you are immediately giving yourself an advantage.”

Students had the opportunity to visit 48 STEM industry employers related to their career path interests. (Lisa Rajigah/The Signpost)
Students had the opportunity to visit 48 STEM industry employers related to their career path interests. (Lisa Rajigah/The Signpost)

Meeting with employers in-person can be much more effective than simply sending in a resume. This way, employers are more easily able to get a sense of who the future employee are as a person, become aware of their achievements and interests, and determine whether or not they would be a good fit for the position and the company.