This year, SECD is making important changes to the format and content of the fair.
“We are looking to share more information about careers, make the fair easier to navigate for students, and interest student populations that have been previously unrepresented to attend,” says Pete Corrigan, Associate Director, Employer and Alumni Connections.
Taking inspiration from Fall Career Days, the first major change is reformatting Spring Career Days into two themed days, Career Days Block Party and STEM Day.
But don’t let “block party” fool you.
“This isn’t a neighborhood party with picnic tables and face painting,” says Corrigan. “This refers to how employers and companies will be organized — clustered together by industry. Students are still encouraged to dress professionally and be prepared to interact with employers, whether they are actively job searching or just exploring career options.”
The clusters are Health and Biosciences, Media and Entertainment, Commerce and Management, Financial Planning Services, Government and Public Service, Non-profits and Social Impact, and Data and Technology
With companies clustered together by industry, students can use the career fair to maximize their opportunities and ideally, connect with even more employers.
“Focusing on the industry lets students find their interest, but navigate in a way that gives more options,” says Career Educator Kathy Koppy. “Instead of locating organizations one by one, it lets students see all the opportunities in their area of interest and opens up more possibilities that they might never have considered.”
Researching by industry also allows students to learn which industries are growing, hire the most employees and pay the best. This is great to know not just now but for down the road, when they’re ready to advance in their career.
Day 2 of Spring Career Days is STEM day, featuring employers who are specifically looking for students majoring in or desiring a career in Science, Technology, Engineering or Math.
“Adding STEM day during Fall Career Days helped students find more employers of interest in one place at the same time,” says Susan Kaleita, Senior Director, Employer and Alumni Engagement. “Even though many employers do most of their recruiting in the fall, adding STEM day to the Spring will help connect students to opportunities that are a fit for them.”
In addition to the format change, SECD strives to make the entire experience less stressful for students. And let’s be honest, attending a career fair can be stressful.
“Feedback from students has consistently been about wanting more information about employers in advance,” says Corrigan. “Before getting to any meaningful conversations, students first need to identify if this employer even has the opportunities they’re looking for like an internship or full-time job, whether they’d consider hiring a freshman or sponsoring an international student.”
This takes time and energy and can be particularly discouraging for both employers and students.
“We want both students and employers to making meaningful connections,” says Corrigan. “As we provide more information to students, then more and more, students find the right employers and employers meet the right candidates.”
To help give students information in a quick and seamless way, SECD is utilizing color-coded systems and visual cues, not only in printed and web-based materials, but throughout the career fair venue itself.
At one glance, students will be able to determine what types of opportunities an employer is hiring for, if they hire underclassmen for internships, or if they sponsor international students. As an added bonus, they’ll even know if the employer is hosting a summer job shadow opportunity.
Students can also create their game plan ahead of time by researching employers and opportunities in Handshake.
SECD’s Career Educators will once again host ED Zone, a place for students to practice their pitch, do some last-minute research on employers and in general, get out their nerves. As an additional support for students, representatives from different colleges will also be on-hand both days to answer questions, offer advice and general be a friendly face.
“These changes represent a win-win for everyone,” says Corrigan. “Students find the opportunities and information they’re looking for and feel more confident doing it and employers to return again and again to the UA to recruit talented Wildcats.”
For More information
About Spring Career Days, contact Pete Corrigan, Associate Director, Employer and Alumni Connections at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To recruit, contact Marbila Rocha, Senior Events Coordinator at email@example.com