Pete Corrigan, assistant director of employer relations in Student Engagement & Career Development, wants students to think broadly.
“Students often think too narrowly about their career potential,” says Corrigan. “They think, ‘I can do this with my major’ rather than, ‘With my experiences and skill set, I can do anything.’”
Corrigan works closely with employers who want to meet UA students and understands what they’re looking for in a potential employee.
“Whenever I ask an employer what they’re looking for, time and time again, they describe a set of skills like leadership, ability to collaborate, problem-solving, and initiative,” says Corrigan. “And when you look at it from that perspective, it’s easy to see that those skills aren’t limited to a particular major.”
In fact, 60% of all employers we asked from our spring career fair are looking to hire students from any major, says Corrigan. What they’re really interested in is the student as a whole.
“Major can be important, if it’s very specific like accounting or certain areas of engineering. They also want to know if the student is having success in their studies,” says Corrigan. “Can they meet deadlines? Are they involved on campus in a student group? Have they had an internship or do they work part-time? All of those experiences build up the skills sets that employers are really looking for.”
Corrigan encourages students to seek out opportunities to build their skills and not limit themselves to a particular job title or industry when looking for a job. There is a whole wide world of opportunities for students with different skills and experiences.
“Trust me,” continues Corrigan. “These companies will want to hire you!”
How can you make the most of attending a career fair?
Corrigan recommends that students describe for themselves their ideal job situation, including the company culture and types of tasks they’d work on. “Once you know what that looks like, it’s easier to identify the types of jobs you’ll excel in,” says Corrigan. “Who doesn’t want to do something that invigorates them all day long?”
Review the companies attending the career fair by viewing the event page in Handshake. Look at the job descriptions. You may be surprised at the types of positions that call for your skill set. Pick your top 5 or 6 and research how they align with your ideal job situation.
From your list of 5 of 6, determine who will be hosting an info session prior to the career fair. You can search for employer sessions in the “Event” tab in Handshake by keyword, employer name, or date. Be prepared to turn on your camera if attending virtually and bring questions! You’ll likely meet that same person at the fair if they’re attending and it’s a great chance to follow-up on your strong first impression.
“Companies like to know you’re not just looking for a job, but a job with their company,” says Corrigan.